Many airline passengers forget to turn their cell phones off in flight, or maybe obstinately refuse to.
And yet there isn’t a singe instance in which an “on” cell phone has been responsible for an airline accident, though Wikipedia predictably suggests it’s somehow possible.
But, mobile phone use is still not generally allowed on planes.
Emirates and Malaysia airlines do allow them in certified aircraft using AeroMobile technology.
However, the real block to in-flight cell phone usage seems to be social, not aeronautic.
Passenger resistance to fellow passengers loudly yakking on their cell phones is very high. But so’s the need to communicate in the air.
This is a perfect opportunity for Line2, a service that lets passengers stay in text contact with their friends, families and colleagues at 32,000 feet in the air, without ever having to shout into a phone.
Line2, a VOiP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) adds a second number to a user’s cell phone that works over WiFi, 3G or Cellular networks.
Peter Sisson, the founder and CEO of Toktumi, (“talk to me”), the hosted PBX (private branch exchange) service company that created Line2, says that Line2 texts and voice are “ indistinguishable from traditional SMS text capabilities offered by the major cellular carriers.”
Line2 received accolades from the New York Time, Entrepreneur and other heavy-hitters, with Mashable calling the service “potentially revolutionary.”
But the question that no one seems to answer, is will the airlines allow the use of the cell phone in flight even for texting purposes?
TMCnet.com in an article called “Join the Mile High Text Club” boldly states that Line2 “has just made the in-flight experience more productive, relaxing and enjoyable with the latest version of Line2”
And Sisson says the texting service is a terrific way to let people on the ground know of flight delays, changes in plans and presumably to say “I love you” up in the air.
But again, can the service be used in-flight?
Assuming yes, Line2 costs about ten bucks a month for unlimited texts ($.10 for international texts), and comes with a 30 day free trial, which is very generous of the company.
Sisson does an admirable job on the tutorial video in the Toktumi web site explaining his product,, but the vid doesn’t much simplify the process of accessing Line2 and understanding the various complex functions.
David Pogue. the NYT’s technology editor, does a better job of explaining Line2 on the site’s video, but even he admits it’s pretty complicated stuff.
Still, it’s happening. Now texting : ” Early Adopter” and “Lighthouse Customer”