Qantas to allow inflight texting

If you're flying in Australia you may get to send text messages on a trial basis.

Now arriving: inflight texting
Now arriving: inflight texting

Inflight cell phone use may still be a no-no in the United States, but flyers Down Under will soon get the chance to use their phones while in the air. The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Australia's largest airline is launching a test program that will allow passengers to text from 35,000 feet. Qantas is one of the first airlines to have such a program, although Ryanair and Emirates plan similar tests later this year. The three-month trial will determine if cell phone use aboard an aircraft is a "good idea." (Here's a hint: It's not.) Passengers will be allowed only to send text and e-mail messages; phone calls will not be permitted (phew!). Here's hoping Qantas will ban text alert messages, as a constant pinging sound in an enclosed space doesn't sound like a good time.

Qantas will select one Boeing 767 as the test aircraft for the three-month trial, which will apply only to domestic flights. Passengers won't know if they're on that particular plane until they board. If the trial is successful, and the airline determines that cell phones don't interfere with navigational and communications systems, Qantas may expand cell phone use to all its flights and aircraft. Calling may even be permitted at some point, but let's just hope that's never the case.

About the author

Senior Managing Editor Kent German leads the CNET Reviews editors in San Francisco. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he still writes about the wireless industry and occasionally his passion for commercial aviation.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
ZTE's wallet-friendly Grand X (pictures)
Lenovo reprises clever design for the Yoga Tablet 2 (Pictures)
Top-rated reviews of the week (pictures)
Best iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus cases
Make your own 'Star Wars' snowflakes (pictures)
Bento boxes and gear for hungry geeks (pictures)