Air France-KLM aims to be first in in-flight mobile phone use

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Air France-KLM assembled journalists from all around the world at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport last week to showcase the new technology it believes will help to make Amsterdam Schiphol and CDG “Europe’s most attractive dual hub system”.

The airline’s chairman, Jean-Cyril Spinetta, is pictured here (centre) during a demonstration of how to check-in using a mobile phone.

I took part in a similar demonstration and to give me a precise idea of how it works, I was checked in there and then for my flight back to London later that day. I can attest to it working, but was a bit miffed to discover as I boarded the aircraft that my seat was right at the back while my fellow journalists who did not check in remotely were seated much further forward!

Air France-KLM aims to be the first airline in the world to allow passengers to use mobile phones in-flight, according to executive vice-president of marketing and network management, Bruno Matheu.

The carrier plans to carry out a six-month trial early next year on-board an Airbus A318. In the first three months passengers will be allowed to use their mobiles to send text messages and emails, and in the second three months they will be able to annoy their fellow passengers by shouting “I’M ON THE PLANE!!” into their mobiles.

Questionnaires will be handed out to those lucky (or unlucky?) passengers who happen to be on the mobile phone trial aircraft to find out how they felt about it. Cabin crew will also be questioned on how it affected their ability to carry out their jobs.

At the moment, one in three Air France-KLM passengers use e-services to check-in. Matheu says the carrier aims to increase this figure to three out of four by 2009.

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