Air France will become the first airline to offer in-flight mobile phone services and internet access for laptops on flights next year.
The delivery of a new and modified Airbus A318 with an in-flight communications system known as OnAir will eventually give passengers the ability to make and receive calls, send texts and use WAP facilities on mobile devices.
Passengers will also be able to send emails from laptops or PDAs.
Air France will trial the system from March to September next year on flights between Europe and North Africa, before making a decision to roll out the service across the network.
The first stage of trial will restrict passengers to only sending messages via mobile phones and emails.
Head of marketing Patrick Roux said “Air France has always shared the full benefits of the latest technology with its passengers, while endeavouring to preserve the flight as a haven of peace and well-being.”
Meanwhile Air France and Dutch airline KLM have launched an online check-in service.
E-ticket holders will be able to choose their seat online and leave their hold luggage in a dedicated drop-off point at airports.
“Passengers of both airlines already benefit from a host of advantages thanks to the merger of Air France and KLM: combined network and fares, the single Flying Blue frequent flyer program, joint lounges, online check-in,” said Paul Gregorowitsch, executive vice president commercial of KLM.
“It is clear that the group will continue to take other initiatives in this area in the coming months and years.”