Ryanair, the low-budget (i.e you get to ride alongside cargo boxes and livestock) Irish carrier, has become the first airline in the United Kingdom to provide in-flight mobile phone service.
To start, the cellular technology (see above) has been installed on 20 planes and is readily available for passengers flying between Dublin and the London-area airports at Gatwick, Stansted and Luton. Until Ryanair upgrades its entire fleet, the service will be available on “select” (read: random) other routes depending on “fleet distribution.”
Oh, and there are a few notable (and fairly significant) restrictions. According to the BBC:
Calls will cost between £1.50 and £3 per minute, e-mails from £1 to £2 and texts about 40p. A maximum of six people will be allowed to make calls at a time, although this is likely to increase, with charges depending on the network operator. People on the Vodafone and O2 networks are currently able to use the service, while Ryanair is negotiating with other operators.
In other words (at least at the beginning), the service doesn’t come cheap, can’t handle much volume, and is limited to 2 (albeit large) mobile carriers – yeah, we’ll pass.