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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mobile phones on Ryanair flights

Nobody can ever accuse Ryanair CEO of resorting to spin and bullshit and he lived up to his image on Wednesday when the airline announced a plan to equip its fleet with an onboard mobile service by next year.

"If you want a quiet flight, use another airline," said Michael O'Leary. "Ryanair is noisy, full and we are always trying to sell you something."

The airline announced a deal with OnAir to equip its fleet of Boeing 737-800s over the next two years, with the first calls being made in July next year, subject to regulatory approval.
Research has revealed that loud one-way conversations e.g on a mobile phone, are more disruptive to others than having to listen to say the hollering of the stereotypical American tourist in a two-way conversation.

Mobile phone operators will charge Ryanair passengers rates in line with those for international roaming and customers will receive the charges on their monthly bills. The rates start at £1.20 (€1.78) a minute to make a call and £1 to receive a call.

"Our research tells us that people are most likely to make voice calls on short-haul single aisle aeroplanes than on larger planes on long routes," George Cooper, chief executive of Ryanair partner OnAir said. "Many business people now fly Ryanair and a journey on a short-haul flight tends to be part of a business day. Plus the people they want to talk to are in their time zone."

It's surely going to be a right pain in the aorta having to put up with ignorant people on phones at such close proximity.

I recall last year being on Dublin DART train and a guy of about 60 got on at Connolly Station. The train was running 10 minutes late and he began shouting to someone on his mobile:

"I'm on the train...if I don't catch the flight...blah-blah-blah

He was heading to Howth Junction and was hoping to catch a bus to Dublin Airport as he apparently had a business meeting in Galway. The racket continued non-stop.

I was reminded of Queen Victoria's comment about Prime Minister Gladstone: He speaks to me as if I'm a public meeting!

I was about to tell the loud businessman to pipe down as the DART train stopped at Killester Station. He got out and I thought to myself: "Serves you right, you skinflint!"

Back to Ryanair...

Aviation journalist Gerry Byrne is reported to have said today that research in the US found many passengers use their mobiles on flights even though they are not supposed to be doing so.

Technology exists that makes it safe to use mobiles above 10,000 feet, but experts say allowing such use could lead to instances where some passengers switch on their phones before this height is reached.

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