Oh dear.  Oh very dear.

AirNZ announced today that through Vodafone they will allow calls and texts (and data) on a trial basis on domestic flights (well on one AirBus 320 aircraft).

There are a few things wrong with this, IMHO:

  • I like the idea of data, and to a lesser degree texts (if the phone is on silent), on a plane, but calls are just a pain in the arse (think how bad it is with people yelling into phones at the moment at places like cafes).  Cellphoneitis is rampant!
  • As Lance Wiggs points out the price is WAY WAY out of line.
  • I realise its only a trial, but having it on domestic flights (max length 1:40 in New Zealand) isn’t long enough a flight time.     Trans-tasman (3-4 hour flights) would be a good place to trial it.

AirNZ actually understand the whole talking is difference from texts issue, as they announced several months ago about allowing texts on their new 777 services, but not calls. So why on earth did they go and allow calls on this service?  Is it money?

I will be the first to say SHUT UP (plus some other expletives if need be) if they guy next to me yells into his phone on a plane.

This also proves that cell phones are NOT unsafe on a plane, so forcing a user to go through the airlines connection is, well just a monopoly pushing a product.

Ironically it was announced back in May other airlines have done a deal with Telecom (XT) for similar services on international flights, it was implied that AirNZ had customer feedback that it wasn’t liked.

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

Here’s an interesting claim from the 2nd article on calls on planes:

However, mobiles are still banned when planes are flying under 6000 metres.

This means the first 10 minutes or so, and the last 15 or a flight might (will?) have no service.  So on a flight Christchurch to Wellington, the actual usage time of the new AirNZ service could be as low as 5 minutes (flight time is after all 30 minutes).

Will be interesting to see how this develops.  But I stand by my claim – calls are a BAD idea!

Black and White Version: Tech can be cool, but has to be thought out.  Both the price (way to high) AND the product is wrong here (calls should be banned!).

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