If you've ever been on a commercial airplane before, you are probably used to the drill: Shut off your cameras, laptops and cellphones. Once in the air, those cell phones better stay off – airliners are pretty insistent on that. Then again, with the obscene cost of in-flight calls that some airliners provide, they don't really have all that much incentive to let you use a cell. Could that be changing, however? One international airliner is looking to allow cell phone use during flight. Emirates will be the first airliner to ever do such, and is planning to being allowing use of cells and phone-equipped PDAs starting next month. While the technical feasibility of such a feat requires some adjustments to existing aircraft, the extremely long duration of international flights would make it particularly appealing to those who have to sit on those long trips. At the end of this year, a study will be finish to determine whether or not cell phone use would actually be dangerous:
The regulatory agency has asked a committee to conduct a study looking at whether portable electronic devices like cell phones interfere with aircraft navigation systems. Findings of the study are due at the end of December.
Especially in the U.S., airliners have lost a lot of money and been finding themselves being replaced by other things, such as video conferencing or people just willing to make longer car trips. A flight that allows cell use from one end the other would be one more attraction to get someone to buy a ticket. Interesting stuff.