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In-flight calls 'could be expensive'

Tennis players booking flights to Spain might have read with interest the news that a leading budget airline is equipping its planes with masts to enable its passengers to use their mobile phones.

One industry commentator, however, has warned passengers not to be too excited by the development, claiming that such calls will not be cheap.

Those en route to tennis holidays to La Manga Club might be tempted to dial their friends, but Lawrence Price, director of aviation strategy at Mott MacDonald, said that the calls will be treated as a "potential revenue stream" by airlines.

"Remember many airlines, particularly larger airlines, have had phones in seatbacks for years […] but they do charge premium and there will be a premium on you using your mobile phone on an airplane," he argued.

Plans to enable carriers to enable in-flight calls were confirmed this year by Ofcom, pending approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency and the Civil Aviation Authority.


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