While there may be some people that will rejoice that they can carry on their phone conversations in the air, according to many surveys, the majority of us hate the idea! Yet, it looks like it will be coming to skies near you – if you are in Europe – very soon.
The European Union Clears the Way for Phone Use on Airplanes
For years now, we have had internet onboard airplanes and that has enabled us to stay in touch with those we need to on the ground. Some airlines have even made text messaging free onboard. But, actually making and taking phone calls in the air has been something that kept being out of reach.
While there are some technical elements that make this a bit different of a communication use, it is also the idea that most passengers are firmly against having their seat mates on the phones during the flight.
It is bad enough when you are in the jetway and someone full of self-importance feels the need to impress complete strangers by talking very loudly about their corporate plans or investment portfolio. Now, imagine that type of thing continuing on into the airplane – and for the duration of the flight.
This rollout will allow 5G and 4G phone use to take place on airplanes with ground based towers for lower altitudes and creating a kind of flight network.
“5G will enable innovative services for people and growth opportunities for European companies. The sky is no longer a limit when it comes to possibilities offered by super-fast, high-capacity connectivity,” said Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal market.
Countries will also need to clear the use of the 5G bands for road vehicles as well to allow for faster communication while driving the roads of Europe.
However, it was also said that they will not actually be installing 5G equipment for this kind of transmission on the planes themselves. There has been some concern about the 5G frequencies interfering with airplane communication and navigation systems, which led to a delay of the rollout of 5G tech near airports in the US.
I am left with two thoughts on this – one is that I am really going to be appreciating my noise cancelling headphones (which won’t completely silence the loud passenger across from me but it will help) and the other thought is of course we knew all these years that NOT putting our phone in airplane mode was not a recipe for disaster since now those same phones will be shortly allowed to have full use in the air.
Are you for or against the full use of cell phones on airplanes?