I know a lot of you have been truly excited about the recent announcements from the FAA, as they have officially notarized the use of mobile devices (in airplane mode) on airplanes from gate-to-gate. In the US, Delta, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Jet Blue were quick to put their support behind the new ruling.
Shortly after the announcement, the European equivalent of the FAA also voiced their support for gate-to-gate mobile device access, and my European friends were elated. Well, now the European Commission has announced they are taking the measure one step further and allowing full 3G and 4G network communications on board capable, Mobile Communications on board Aircraft-equipped airlines.
Mobile Communications on board Aircraft (MCA) is a system which allows air passengers to use their own mobile devices on board aircraft. However, very few European airlines are equipped to take advantage of these possibilities at the moment.
So, while this is great news, it could be a while before the opportunity is fully available. Let's see how long it takes before the US catches up.
There's a great Q&A in the European Commission press release for those with specific questions about the implementation and availability: Surfing in the sky: Commission gives airlines green-light for 3G and 4G broadband services on board aircraft