Virgin Atlantic Now Allows Cell Phone Use

But only on flights between NYC and London. So far.

Passengers on certain Virgin Atlantic flights are now able to use their cell phones to make and receive phone calls at 35,000 feet, the airline announced Tuesday. The British airline’s new service could be a blessing for business travelers who want to stay connected during eight-hour flights across the ocean. It could also be a nightmare for the passenger sitting next to them. “I suspect most passengers, like myself, would prefer not to listen to somebody on the phone for what might be hours,” said airline analyst Robert Mann. Only six passengers at a time will be able to use the system, which the airline says is intended “for use in exceptional situations.” Passengers will be able to send text messages, make a call or access email on mobile devices. The airline won’t charge extra for the service but cell phone users will be charged their carrier’s international roaming rates.

What’s an “exceptional situation”?