OnAir Mobile Phone Service offered on Air France International flights

Air France Logo We all know that mobile phones have to be switched off as we travel by air. Air France is now offering a mobile service in international flights. Thus passengers with the help of Mobile OnAir system can operate their mobile mid-air.

The passengers traveling on board one of the Airbus A318 aircraft operating European routes will now be able to send and receive SMS and MMS messages. The passengers will also be able to send and receive emails via all mobile phones with internet access.

This is a trial while during the other half trial passengers will be able to make and receive mobile calls. This service is being introduced to comfort the passengers while traveling.

The Mobile OnAir on board mobile system is certified by EASA (European Aviation Safety Authority). This system does not interfere with radio-navigation instruments on the Airbus A318.

It can be used only at cruising altitude once the new illuminated sign “Switch off your phone” is turned off. The system is activated at 3,000 meters (10,000 feet).

The Airbus A318 leaves an information leaflet in the seat pockets for the customers to know more about it. The cabin crew announcement also gives information about the service being offered while it also has a twenty question survey which can be filled by passengers.

As Patrick Roux, Executive Vice President Marketing Air France stated, “We are seizing every opportunity to offer customers the latest technological innovations, while continuing to make their travel comfort and well-being our main priority.”

Benoit Debains, CEO of OnAir, commented, “We are delighted that Air France is the first airline to use the Mobile OnAir onboard mobile telephony system on international flights.”

He further continued, “This marks an important phase in the implementation of a new generation of in-flight services and we are confident that this trial will define the future standards in terms of in-flight passenger communication.”

The Air France is having a trial for six-months and will examine the feedback and comments made by passengers and decide whether to introduce the service in flights.

OnAir has roaming agreements with the mobile network operators of France which include Orange, Bouygues Telecom and SFR.

To know how the OnAir Service works:

  • Mobile phones connect to a miniature cellular network installed inside this aircraft.
    A modem transmits data and calls to a satellite that routes them to a ground station. Data and calls are then routed to the passenger’s usual telephone network. This network is located inside the aircraft. Passengers’ mobile phones only emit at minimum power, which does not risk harming interference with aircraft avionics or ground telecoms network.
  • Phones are used just like on the ground. To make a call on board the aircraft, passengers simply dial the international prefix (+) or 00 + country code + full number (without the 0).
  • The cost of data exchanges are invoiced by the customers’ telephone operator and are comparable to those used for normal international mobile phone calls.