Gogo Talk & Text App Brings Phone Calls to the Friendly Skies
The FAA may have relaxed its rules on electronic device use during flights, but one activity that remains banned is making and receiving cellular calls. If you find yourself needing to make a phone call while up in the clouds and your plane doesn’t have an in-flight phone system, you could soon have an option from airline Wi-Fi provider Gogo.
Gogo’s new service, called Talk & Text, lets passengers jump onto the Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi network and use an iPhone or Android app to make phone calls and send text messages from their own phone number. There is some initial setup required that involves verifying your number, carrier, etc. on the ground before you actually get on a plane and connect to a Gogo network. But once you’re all squared away on that front, you should be able to make calls through the Wi-Fi on your plane.
The big question here is, would U.S. airlines allow Gogo’s app to work this way? Surprisingly, Gogo doesn’t have a lot of confidence that they will. According to a report from Engadget, a source from the company believes that airlines won’t support voice calls from the app. Whether that’s because the networks couldn’t handle it or because airlines just don’t want everyone talking on their phones — I imagine it would be tough to tell who is using Gogo and who is making a cellular call — the source expects we’ll be getting a “Gogo Text” app here in the United States instead of “Talk & Text.”
If you need to have a voice conversation while in the air and Gogo’s app doesn’t fly with airlines, there are always plenty of other options. Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger and many other messaging apps have voice chat built in, and Hangouts even has the ability to call phones (though, unless you use Google Voice, your phone number won’t display to the caller). Just turn to one of those if you’re in a pinch, though be warned: if you look like you’re on a traditional phone call, a flight attendant might want to have a word with you.
We don’t know when Gogo plans to launch this app or what kind of pricing scheme the company has in mind, but as soon as we find out, we’ll let you know.