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Airline launches onboard SMS

Airline passengers may soon be able to send and receive text messages in mid-flight.

Swiss airline technology provider SITA has launched a two-way in-flight SMS service, according to a statement from the company.

SITA’s AIRCOM SMS service is the first to offer passengers the facility to hold two-way SMS conversations with people using mobile phones or email accounts, via their in-seat telephone handset or IFE interface.

“The current trend for airlines is of course to closely monitor the cost/benefit ratio of any new service provided to passengers, yet they all want to differentiate their cabin service with the latest trendy technologies” commented George Cooper, head of Airline Operations and AIRCOM Services, SITA INC. “With SITA’s AIRCOM Short Messaging Service, airlines can quickly differentiate their customer offering while benefiting from the low investment needed.”

The SMS can be up to 160 characters in length – incorporating words, numbers and certain country-extended character sets. Passengers will be able to choose between paying for the service using their own credit card, or using SITA’s AIRCOM Prepaid Calling Card. Although it is currently only available on ten Megatop B747 and Jubilee B777 planes that fly from Singapore to the US, Europe and Australia. These passengers can access the messaging service through the entertainment console.

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