Qantas is offering its customers a month of free, unlimited use of the new
Qantas Short Message Service (SMS) system, launched with the airline's new
International Business Class today.
The new Qantas system allows customers in all classes to send messages
using their in-seat telephone handset, and also to receive replies - a service
that is a world-first.
Qantas Executive General Manager Sales and Marketing, John Borghetti, said
the system would be installed progressively on the airline's international
747-400s from this month.
"Inflight customers can send messages of up to 160 characters to any SMS
compatible mobile phone or email address. People receiving the messages on
the ground can reply to the passenger inflight, using the normal reply facility
on either their mobile telephone or e-mail function, with the reply automatically
routed back to the originating seat.
"The system utilises aircraft cabin telephony, inflight entertainment and
satellite infrastructure to generate messages via satellites to and from ground
stations and the relevant telecommunications networks," he said.
Mr Borghetti said Qantas had worked closely over the past two years with
Rockwell Collins Passenger Systems, MORS Technologies, and Telecommunications Company SITA, to establish the service and modify the
existing on board telephone system.
"This new service uses the most modern technology and gives our customers
the best possible access to family, friends and business while flying."
Qantas and SITA are offering the service free of charge to Qantas customers
until 31 October. From 1 November, the cost of sending and receiving a message is USD1.90.
Mr Borghetti said customers could also take advantage of reduced inflight
telephone call rates of USD3.90 per minute to anywhere in the world until 31
"Customers can telephone other passengers on their flight at any time free of
charge," Mr Borghetti said.