David Neeleman, founder and chief executive of JetBlue, said text communications could prove attractive but agrees with theabout the onboard use of cell phones for voice calls.
A representative for JetBlue told Silicon.com that in-flight text messaging could happen in the near future and that if the company allows cell phones on its flights, then they will only be used as "silent options"--meaning passengers would be allowed to send and receive text messages and listen to voice mail, but incoming and outgoing calls would be barred.
The movement to make mile-high mobiles a reality is gathering pace at other airlines, too--the U.K.'s Ryanair is planning to allow mobile access on all its flights by mid-2007, and Australian national carrier Qantas has been given the green light to start an in-flight mobile trial of SMS (Short Message Service) and e-mail.
Air France was due to launch an in-flight mobile service last month but was forced to delay it until the summer. It will now kick off a six-month mobile trial--including data services and voice calls--in July.
Gemma Simpson of Silicon.com reported from London.