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Air France to debut in-flight mobile calls

So we know that JetBlue planned an in-flight data service for BlackBerry users. This seemed revolutionary when announced, even though voice service isn’t available and you’re basically limited to Yahoo. Leave it to the French to one-up us. Air France has announced that they will begin a six-month trial period that will allow passengers to make and receive calls and text messages, and use the Internet.

The trial will be divided into two phases. During the first three months, passengers will have access to SMS messages and the Internet. The second three months will allow for customers to make and receive phone calls.

Like JetBlue, this trial will take place only on select jets — the Airbus A318, if you’re curious. The onboard telephony system has been approved by the European Aviation Safety Authority.

One side of us says: “If they can do it, we can do it.” But the other side of us realizes that allowing people to yap on their cell phones will create a rather loud environment on the plane. Without regulation, it could end up sounding like a high school cafeteria.

And, unlike on the bus, the pilot can’t pull over if someone is being disruptive.