SITA and Airline Business's latest IT trends poll shows plans for mobile phones, Internet access by most airlines: The poll showed that 50 percent of 200 airlines surveyed worldwide will have mobile phone services by the end of 2008, while 59 percent will add Internet and email access. Cute note: The no smoking illumination in Airbus planes will be replaced with a "no mobiles" sign in the future, which will be illuminated during downtime periods. (New cell phone models may be able to be disabled by an onboard picocell when calls aren't allowed, too.)
Point of importance: SITA is one of the owners, along with Airbus, of OnAir, a much-delayed satellite-based in-flight phone and Internet service that will launch in Europe next year with four airlines. And 50 percent of 200 airlines doesn't equate to 50 percent of passengers. In speaking with several domestic US airlines recently, they have little interest in allowing cell phone use.