Soon you won’t need to wait until the runway to catch up with overly worried family members because Gogo’s in-flight Wi-Fi service is now able to handle your texts and phone calls. While the service isn’t currently available on commercial flights in the US, Gogo says it’s planning to give consumers the new features by early 2014.
The Talk & Text service will work through the upcoming Gogo smartphone app, but they’ll still be made with the phone’s number so your friends will still know it’s you. Pricing details haven’t been released yet, but Gogo says that the new features will be charged as a separate service from their traditional in-fight Wifi plan; you won’t have to get both. And because most major US cell phone carrier have partnered with Gogo, you won’t pay any roaming charges while texting in the air.
While phone calls can be made and received through the service, Gogo predicts the texting feature will be most popular. “While we see this as more of a text messaging product for commercial airlines in the United States,” Gogo’s chief marketing officer Ash ElDifrawi told the Verge, “the phone functionality is something that some international air carriers and our business aviation customers are asking for.”
Despite the fact that this news comes just a week after the Federal Aviation Administration’s announcement they would ease their regulations on device usage during flights, Gogo’s new service won’t work under 10,000 feet. As passengers are learning, it may take a while for all airlines to get on the same page with the new rules anyway. But, the FAA did show recently that Wi-Fi below 10,000 feet doesn’t interfere with the plane, so a completely Wifi-enabled flight may be in the very near future.