I’m writing this on a BA business class flight to New York, that cost £500ish total for Mrs MSE and I combined. I’ve just been gobsmacked by the announcement just made saying you can use your mobile whilst in mid-flight…
Let’s get the ridiculously cheap price out of the way first. These are £2,500 flights, but I’ve been collecting my BA Miles for two year and using the partner voucher from the BA Amex card, Mrs MSE gets an identical ticket too, see top credit card flight rewards.
In fact the only actual cost is taxes and charges, which added up to about £500 total for two, and that’d be a good price for economy alone (see cheap flights).
I’ll already be home by the time you read this
We’re off to the big apple for eight days (which may give away why we did the big ESTA charge warning guide high up the email). It’s all been good MoneySaving all the way: hotels booked using the priceline loophole technique (got it for under 70% of the comparison sites cheapest).
Yet by the time you read this, we’ll be home. After all it’s never good to publicly advertise that you’re away and your home is empty. So I delayed publication of this until I was back.
We entered the US in Ireland
Getting on the plane we got a bit of a shock, we realised it was a business class only plane. We had no clue before hand. It departed from City airport, and there were perhaps 50 seats at most on it.
As the plane can’t carry enough fuel for the whole jouney, it stops to refuel in Shannon, on the West coast of Ireland. When we got on they said we’d enter the US there which seemed rather bizarre, but it’s exactly what happened.
We got off the plane and went through US immigration in about ten minutes so from that point on it counted as a domestic flight, meaning at JFK airport in New York, you didn’t need stand in the massive queues.
If it allows mobile use, why do we normally need to switch ’em off?
I couldn’t quite believe my ears when I heard this announcement. This plane has an internal communication network you can use when above 10,000 feet, so your phone can connect to it for emails, texts and the internet (at roaming prices), though you can’t make calls.
This has been fantastic news. I’d been muttering all week that while I was desperate for a holiday, the plane would leave half way through the crucial England Slovenia match – and so I saw the first goal in the airport yet was worried I’d have to wait hours to here the result. I was able to text friends to find out.
From a wider perspective, it’s interesting this service is offered on a transatlantic flight. There’s no network competition as there’s no other signals available in the middle of the sea. Yet surely this negates the ‘mobiles are dangerous on planes’ rule we normally face.
Doesn’t this mean we should be allowed to turn our mobiles on above a certain height in Europe, where there are network signals, if there’s no safety problem?
Now if you wanted a conspiracy theory interpretation: you could be suspicious that airlines simply won’t allow customers to turn on their phones until they’ve added the receivers to their planes, so they can make money from it.
Anyway, better finish this off, have two columns and two articles to finish before I get there, so I can actually put my feet up and relax..