Virgin Atlantic is set to become the first company in the UK to allow full mobile access on its flights, but only on a specific aircraft. The first outing will be on the new Airbus A330, where passengers will be able to access the Internet, text and call without incurring any penalty.
There will still be the traditional caveat that no devices can be used during take-off or landing, but throughout the flight, passengers can do as they like. Due to American regulations and the service provider, AeroMobile, this functionality will be switched off within 400KM of the US. Considering the first flight to allow this functionality will be London to New York, expect to draw your call or web access to a close, when entering the final leg of the journey.
Only basic web access will be available throughout the flight (GPRS), which of course won't be enough for video viewing, but it should have enough bandwidth for basic Google searchers and the odd tweet.
Until now, no flight has offered web, calling and text functionality, though a British airways flight between London and New York has allowed texting, for some time.
Virgin Atlantic's COO has confirmed that in 2014, when the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is launched, full Wi-Fi access will be made available to passengers.