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Air Campaign

Think wireless devices and air travel don't mix? That could soon be changing.

This story appears in the November 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Many entrepreneurs would rather take care of business than read the in-flight magazine. But cell phones have long been banned in the air due to fears they will disrupt planes' systems. Earlier this year, American Airlines and wireless device manufacturer Qualcomm conducted a test flight using mobile phones and an in-cabin cellular base station to send and receive calls and text messages. Dan Garton, executive vice president of marketing for American Airlines, expects that commercial availability of in-flight cell phones is about two years away. It's a little something for mobile entrepreneurs to look forward to.

That's not the only positive news on the airplane front. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is developing a standardized method for showing cabin attendants that a device's wireless transmitter is turned off. That would mean you could still use the other portions of your wireless devices in the air. For example, you could still view documents or use the organizer on your wireless PDA or smartphone. The CEA is also looking into ways to make it easier and simpler to disable wireless transmitters on devices across the board.

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