17 JUNE 2013
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Passengers on Etihad Airways’ daily flights between New York and Abu Dhabi can now use their own mobile phones to text, browse and call, using Panasonic Avionics’ eXPhone service and AeroMobile, the in-flight mobile phone operator.
Behind the service upgrade is a change of aircraft for the 14.5hr flight previously undertaken by an Airbus A340-500, replace by a Boeing 777-300ER.
Etihad launched its in-flight connectivity services in November 2012 with a commitment to install across the entire fleet. To date 13 Etihad aircraft have been equipped and the airline has an aggressive roll-out plan which will see the whole fleet covered by mid-2014.
Passengers can use the mobile phone service as long as their operator has a roaming agreement with AeroMobile. It recently confirmed AT&T as a roaming partner in the US and has an agreement with T-Mobile USA. UK-based roaming partners include O2, Three and Vodafone. Users of the service are billed by their mobile phone operator, and prices vary depending on individual contracts. Prices are typically similar to ‘rest of world’ rates, or in some cases, lower.
The AeroMobile service is currently available across nine airlines, including Emirates, Etihad and Virgin Atlantic, with the number expected to double in the next 12 months. www.etihad.com
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