Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ryanair going Onair

Yesterday while listening to The Last Word on Today FM, I was tickled to hear that a pub in Donegal has banned mobile phone calls within the pub. Then in the same breath I learned that Ryanair have signed a deal with Onair (child of Airbus and SITA) to provide passengers with an in-flight communications system where they will be able to use their mobile phones. Oh dear.

Apparently it will cost the same as though you were using your handset of choice on the ground subject to international roaming charges. Onair have already signed up a number of international airlines including Qantas, Cathay Pacific, KLM, Iberia and others with service due to start next year. BMI have already began phasing in a system allowing passengers to use their mobile phones, however, they are restricting them to text messages only at 39p a pop.

I can't help but fill with dread at the thought of my next Ryanair flight spent listening to "can you hear me - yeah I'm on the plane!" 20 times over. Not to mention the repeated nagging of staff wondering why "mine's not workin, what's goin on?!" and the air rage that's just bound to follow. While I'm sure the initiation period will be the worst (for both passenger and airline) and novelty wearing off hopefully giving way to less of the "you'll never guess where im ringing ya from", the thought of people having the opportunity to yack on throughout a flight still makes me grimace. Maybe we'll see a return to the segregation you could once opt for - "smoking" and "non-smoking" will become "phone" or "non-phone" (or something much more witty, brain just doesn't function right now)? Time will tell.

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