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Mobile working buoyed by Virgin’s onboard communication services

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Virgin Atlantic has announced plans to allow phone calls and texts onboard its services, which will encourage mobile working for its customers.

According to the Telegraph, the move will make Virgin Atlantic the first airline in Britain to offer in-flight calls and texts as well as web access all of which will allow customers to connect with colleagues and clients thousands of feet below.

The newspaper reports that to begin with, the services will only be available on the airline’s new Airbus A330 route from London to New York.

However, by the end of the year, the route will be rolled out to a further 17 planes on at least ten different routes.

While British Airways (BA) currently offers passengers in-flight texts and web access between London City Airport and New York, it does not yet permit in-flight mobile phone calls, which is what Virgin Atlantic will be offering.

Steve Griffiths, Virgin Atlantic’s chief operating officer, said the airline was “actively looking at what customers want, rather than simply installing technology”.

“We need to make sure users actually make use of a service so that it’s commercially sensible for us to invest,” he added.

AeroMobile will provide the mobile access with Virgin Atlantic also announcing that it will charge passengers around the same price as for normal roaming charges.

As with BA’s service, Virgin Atlantic’s offering won’t be permitted during take-off or landing and the technology will have to switch off within 250 miles of US airspace.

The new services comes as part of a £100 million upgrade to the airline’s Upper Class cabin, which includes USB ports for the charging of devices as well as an improved touchscreen for its in-flight entertainment service.

If the service is successful, who’s to say whether it could be transferred to other airlines as well.

The technology could soon help workers on flights catch up with vital goings-on from the office rather than falling out of the loop, as it were.