British Airways to allow cell phone data and SMS usage on London to JFK route

Dispelling rumors, old wives tales, and the ever reputable “word on the street” that cell phone usage can cause serious interference with aircraft instruments, British Airways has pledged to become the second carrier (Emirates Air became the first such carrier last year) in the world to allow limited cell usage on some of its flights. At launch the service will be limited to its flights between London and JFK, and usage will be capped at texting and data, but the company is leaving open the possibility of expanding the offering to include voice calls at a later date. There has been much debate about the possible disruption caused by in-flight cell usage, and many busy fliers see the airplane as one of the last bastions of freedom, where being disconnected from the matrix for a short period of time can provide a much needed break. On the other hand, pulling down email and accessing the mobile web at 36,000 sounds mighty tasty to us, so when the chips fall you can guess what side of the argument we’ll be on. There’s no word on how much this service will cost, but if Emirates $2.80/minute voice charges are any indication, it won’t be for the faint of heart.

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