While a strict ban on in-flight cellphone use remains law in the U.S., in other countries they are starting to loosen up their rules. Virgin Atlantic is the latest carrier to allow phone use during flight, and passengers flying the New York to London route can now make calls from their personal phones.
Because there aren't any cellphone towers in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the calls are handled by a service called AeroMobile which connects them via satellite. Bandwidth is low with only enough to connect about ten call simultaneously, so you can expect anyone hogging the line to hear it from their fellow passengers.
There are a few additional catches. For starters, you need to have a GSM phone that works on the British O2 or Vodafone networks. Then there's the cost, which will be similar to European international calling rates, or about $1.60 per minute. FCC rules also mean that you phone will have to be off whenever the plane is within 250 miles of the U.S. coast.
Still, if you feel the need to yak and fly at the same time Virgin is your airline. Just make sure that you're booked on the single Airbus A330 that's equipped with the service. Another 20 planes will be added by the end of the year.
And you thought screaming babies were the biggest problem on those transatlantic red-eye flights.