By Andy Sambidge
Emirates' service now installed on 31 aircraft, being rolled out to more planes.
Emirates Airlines' in-flight mobile telephone service has clocked up its 100,000th user, confirming a large increase in calls this year.
A total of 31 Emirates passenger aircraft are now installed with the AeroMobile service, the largest of any commercial airline.
The milestone was passed when a Singaporean passenger made a call from 36,000 feet during Emirates flight EK404 from Dubai to Singapore.
More than 350 Emirates short and long haul flights operate weekly with AeroMobile covering services to 49 countries.
The AeroMobile in-flight system allows passengers the choice of using their own mobile phones to make and receive phone calls and text messages from Emirates aircraft, with charges in line with international roaming rates.
The popularity of the service sees more than 30 percent of passengers on each flight taking advantage of the system.
With the first 50,000 users in the first nine months since the system's launch, the second 50,000 have been clocked up in less than two months, the company revealed.
Patrick Brannelly, Emirates' vice president, Passenger Communications and Visual Services, said: "The AeroMobile facility is growing in popularity day by day. The feedback has been excellent, and our passengers are clearly using the system to stay in touch, as we saw with big increases in the number of calls and SMS messages over special occasions such as the New Year period."
The Emirates phone system was launched in March 2008 and engineering staff are now rapidly rolling the system out across the remainder of the Airbus and Boeing fleets.
Usage data from actual flights shows that at peak times, in excess of 100 passengers are switching on their mobile phones during a flight.
Later this year, the AeroMobile system on Emirates aircraft will be upgraded to offer GPRS services. This will enable passengers to send and receive e-mails via devices such as Blackberrys and laptops with GPRS data cards.
All these supposed calls have never happened on flights that i have taken in the past year and I travel frequently. Perhaps I have been on flights which are thankfully not equipped with this euipment! Not once have i heard an announcement to say pax can use the in flight mobile telephone system (seems a waste of money!) .......long may it be so!!
i guess having aerophone is a wonderful idea.i personally used that on flight and used the phone to call my fiancee at 12.00pm on her birthday. i couldn`t wish my fiancee if that facility wasn`t available.
Sorry Suresh .... nonsense there are telephones in the seatbacks on aircraft already and have been provided by many airlines for several years ! Thus you could have made the call to your fiancee from a flight equipped with this facility! I cannot understand why there is so much interest in the mobile telephones when very few use the existing facilities!! Waste of money & very irritating to pax who dont want to listen others one sided conversations whether they be whispering sweet nothings to their loved one or closing that gazillion dollar deal at 40'000ft!!
Airphones have been supplied for many years now, however, not many people actually use them. The reason for that is the cost that the airlines charge! What will the costs be on the new system? Will they be so high that they prevent users from making those calls.