BA clears way for on-board mobile use

Phones on a plane
Phones on a plane

Passengers on British Airways flights will no longer be disconnected from the world while in the air, because the airline has announced plans to allow mobile phone use during flights.

Starting in Q4 this year, business class passengers travelling from London City airport to JFK in New York will be able to use their phones, but without the ability to voice call.

This means that text, email and web-browsing will all be possible on the flight, and the rest of the plane's passengers will be able to watch the film without having to have George from the accounts division shouting his instructions to Debbie in their ear.

No plans for chat

"There are no plans for voice calls at the moment, but we will listen to feedback from passengers," a BA spokesperson told The Telegraph. "The customer is in charge."

However, there's no word on when, or even if, the service will be rolled out to other passengers and flights, despite a few competitors trialling similar services on a wider range of flights.

The public is divided over the use of mobile phones on planes, with many wishing the skies to remain a peaceful haven of travel. But others, especially business people who spend a large proportion of time travelling, want to make use of the spare time to catch up on work.

Banning voice calls appears to be a good compromise, but only time will tell whether the public will change their mind and let loose the full might of the mobile.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.