Re: Mobiles and laptops in-flight

Date:         01 Jul 98 02:42:15 
From:         Robert Courteau <engrc@cae.ca>
Organization: CAE Electronics, Montreal
References:   1
Followups:    1
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Tina wrote:
>A friend sent me E-mail on his laptop from "somewhere over the
>Atlantic". I know others who claim they have connected to the Internet
>in-flight.  As far as I understand the technology, connecting to a
>network on a laptop works the same way as dialing on a mobile phone
>(doesn't it?).
>
>Why, then do airlines ask passengers to switch off mobile phones for the
>entire flight but PCs are to be switched off ONLY for take off and
>landing? If using mobile phones can interfere with flight systems,
>doesn't the same apply for PCMCIA cards? What about airlines that offer
>onboard fax services & such...?

   Your friend was probably using his laptop (legal above 10,000 ft),
and connecting to the seatback in-flight telephone service, which uses
satellite communications (not cellphone technology) to link to the
ground phone network. So you can indeed e-mail, fax, or surf the Net -
provided you are ready to spend many dollars a minute doing so.