You will soon be able to make calls and send text messages from the air. Or, put another way, you’ll soon have to listen to people talk on their freakin’ cell phones. All. Flight. Long.
Gogo, the company that brought us in-flight Wi-Fi and killed the “I’m traveling so I won’t be available for the rest of the day” excuse, is taking high flying connectivity a step further with a new service called Text & Talk, which lets you do exactly what the name implies.
Text & Talk will be baked in to Gogo’s mobile app for iPhone and Android devices, and will use Wi-Fi to let people stay connected during their flights. That means no roaming charges. Thanks to some technical wizardry, all texts and calls will come from your number – so you won’t have to manage a whole separate line just for staying in touch while flying.
As The Verge reports, Gogo doesn’t expect the “talk” part of Text & Talk to be available on domestic flights due to the fact that its airline partners don’t really want to let people do that. The text messaging part will likely be available on U.S. flights, while both calls and texting may be available on some international flights as well as flights used exclusively for business.
News of Talk & Text follows changes by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration that allow qualified airlines to let passengers use their personal electronics, including smartphones and tablets, during all portions of their flights. At the moment, JetBlue, Delta, United, and US Airways have received the FAA’s approval for “gate-to-gate” gadget use. Delta, United, and US Airways all offer Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi, as does Virgin America, Frontier, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, AirTran, and Air Canada – meaning Text & Talk will likely be available (in one form or another) on those flights.
Text & Talk is expected to launch by the end of this year, or early 2014. There’s no word on pricing yet, though we do know it’ll be an added cost on top of the regular in-flight Wi-Fi charge.