Look for that always-lit "no smoking" sign above your airline seat to be phased out by some European carriers as early as next year. No, no one's considering allowing in-flight smoking. Instead, some European airlines are poised to replace "no smoking" with "no mobile" when in-flight mobile phone service is introduced to Europe next year.
ZD Net reports that Air France, BMI, and Portugal's TAP will be the first carriers to try a new satellite-based mobile phone and text message technology on short-haul intra-Europe flights next year. Calls will cost about $2.50 minute. The technology was co-developed by European aircraft manufacturer Airbus.
The new "no mobile" signs will be illuminated during takeoff. Only Airbus aircraft will be fitted with the new signs when the program launches. Boeing has been developing its own in-flight mobile technology, but last month warned it could lose as much as $315 million on the struggling project.