Oh boy, here we Gogo. The largest inflight connectivity (internet) provider, Gogo, has announced their latest product: “Gogo Text & Talk”. The new service will allow passengers to use their smartphones (with Gogo’s App) to send text messages and talk on the phone inflight. Read the Gogo Press Release.
I don’t have a problem with inflight texting. But I have serious concerns about passengers talking on the phone. Flying in coach is uncomfortable. Being stuck next to Mister This-call-can’t-wait will be shear misery…
We’ve had inflight phones before. For several years, Verizon had a phone installed in every seat back they could squeeze one into. They were great… because no one used them. The phones required a credit card and rates were ridiculously high. Gogo’s plan is brilliant. If passengers can talk on their own phones at a reasonable cost, they will. And they’ll talk, and talk and talk.
One point should be clarified. Passengers are still banned by both the FAA and the FCC from turning on their phone’s cellular transceiver while in flight. The phones must be in “Airplane Mode.” The FAA has concerns with cell signals interfering with aircraft systems and the FCC wants to minimize the problems that airborne cell phones cause with cell towers. This ban does not apply to WiFi and Bluetooth. Gogo will be using WiFi and Voice-over-IP (VoIP) to allow passengers to chat with their earth dwelling friends.
Be prepared; bring some headphones or earplugs. Your seat neighbors will soon be chatting it up on your next non-stop.