In-flight WiFi Brings VoIP to the Clouds

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In-flight WiFi Brings VoIP to the Clouds In-flight WiFi Brings VoIP to the CloudsIn-flight WiFi Brings VoIP to the Clouds

 

18 September 2013

VoIP services need little more than WiFi to give customers access to cheap nationwide phone calls, and more airlines are responding to an increasing demand for in-flight wireless Internet access. Soon, passengers aboard flights with JetBlue, American Airlines, and several other airlines will be able to make VoIP phone calls from their window seats.

A recent survey by technology giant Honeywell’s aerospace division discovered that almost 90% of American fliers would be willing to give up an in-flight amenity like extra legroom or even bathroom privileges in exchange for WiFi. While this may seem like a crazy exchange, airlines have clearly heard the message and are improving WiFi without sacrificing other aspects of flight comfort and quality.

Calls from the Wild Blue Yonder

Using a cell phone on a plane is a no-no that is deeply ingrained into our culture. Regular cell phones create interference with the cockpit, which can disrupt communications or even compromise flight controls.

A mobile VoIP client, which is now available on most smartphones as an app, utilizes the existing WiFi connection to route calls through. Since the planes are already configured to recognize and ignore WiFi Internet signals, a VoIP call is just as safe as talking to the person in an adjacent seat.

Airlines have offered Internet access for some time now, but according to CNN, some airlines are increasing their Internet speeds by up to 6 times with satellite and ground-based Internet services, as well as hybrid systems that involve both. Previous Internet connections were too slow to support VoIP communication, but these innovations promise to deliver high-quality broadband Internet to fliers.

Sky High Savings

For everyone who remembers how expensive Airfone used to be, mobile VoIP allows them to rest easy knowing they’ll be paying far less for their in-flight calls. For starters, mobile VoIP phone service works anywhere that there’s an Internet connection, not just on the plane.

With mobile VoIP, customers pay under $20 a month for reliable calling wherever they are. Even without WiFi, most data plans run fast enough to support VoIP calls.

Virtually all VoIP providers charge extremely low international calling rates, and most mobile VoIP carriers don’t charge customers roaming fees either. That means that calls will be cheap no matter what country their plane lands in, allowing subscribers to call the local hotel to confirm a reservation, and immediately dial back home to check in with the family.

Airlines offering WiFi will revolutionize communication practices during travel, and will help make mobile VoIP even more popular than it already is. Plane flights take long enough as is, so why not pass the time with a phone call?

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