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Virgin Atlantic rolls out in-flight cellphone service

Wed, 05/16/2012 - 9:12am

(Reuters) - Some passengers on Virgin Atlantic flights can now call home from the air.

The airline announced on Tuesday it is providing travelers with a new cellphone service to make and receive phone calls from 35,000 feet in the air.

The service will allow passengers to send and receive text messages, emails and access the Internet on Virgin Atlantic's new Airbus A330-300 planes flying between London and New York.

The in-flight service is targeting business travelers and will be available in all cabins, although limited to six users at a time.

"The service is intended for use in exceptional situations, when passengers need to send an SMS, make a quick call, or access an email on a Blackberry," a company statement said.

Virgin Atlantic said it has been testing the service, called AeroMobile, over the last few months. The airline expects it will be available on nearly 20 Virgin Atlantic aircraft by the end of 2012.

It can be used by customers of networks provided by Telefonica's O2 and Vodafone.

The cellphone service, however, will not be accessible during the entire flight. It cannot be used during take-off or landing and will be shut off approximately 250 milesfrom U.S. airspace.

(Reporting By Kevin Gray; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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