European airlines may soon follow in the footsteps of Emirates and offer in-flight cell phone service. On Monday, the European Commission approved passenger use of cell phones, including voice calls, text messaging, and emails, reports The Money Times.
Similar to Emirates' cell phone service, European service will be disabled during take-off and landing, and the captain will have the ability to suspend the service in-flight if necessary.
EU telecommunications commissioner Viviane Reding has encouraged cell phone service providers to lower charges for roaming in light of the European Commission's approval, saying "Now we expect operators to be transparent and innovative in their price offerings. However, if consumers receive shock phone bills, the service will not take off."
The European Commission's approval does not mean all airlines will permit in-flight calls, however. Air France has already run trials allowing text messages and emails, but Lufthansa has said its passengers are generally opposed to in-flight service, admitting, "people don't want to be disturbed." Personally, I welcome text messaging and email capabilities, but the idea of listening to my seat mate's phone calls makes me shudder.