The Gogo app will allow you to text or call while the plane is in flight. *AFP photo
The Gogo app will allow you to text or call while the plane is in flight. *AFP photo

Airline passengers will be able to text and use their smartphones while they fly thanks to a new app.

Gogo in-flight’s Wi-Fi system was unveiled last week. Passengers who want to be able to make calls and text will have to download an app from either the Google Play or Apple App Store.

Once passengers have the App, they will be able to send and receive text messages in real time from 30,000 feet travelling in excess of 500 miles-per-hour. 

Ash ElDifrawi, Gogo’s chief marketing officer, said in a press release: “Gogo Text & Talk is just one more way Gogo is keeping airline passengers connected to their lives on the ground.

“While we see this as more of a text messaging product for commercial airlines in the United States, the phone functionality is something that some international air carriers and our business aviation customers are asking for.”

Gogo’s Text & Talk application serves as an extension of a GSM or CDMA cellular network, without the need to install picocells, which is a small cellular station that is often installed on planes to deliver similar services.  This enables any smartphone user to roam onto Gogo’s in-flight Wi-Fi system as if they were roaming onto a land-based cellular network where they can continue to access their messaging and phone services anywhere a Gogo equipped aircraft flies.

“The great part about this technology is that it doesn’t require us to install anything new to an aircraft and we can bundle it with or without connectivity,” added ElDifrawi.  “We have already launched the service with some of our business aviation customers and we are talking with our commercial airline partners about launching the service for their passengers.”