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 October 2003.
“Customers can telephone other passengers on their flight at any time free of charge,” Mr Borghetti said.
Full instructions on using the SMS telephone service are available in the Qantas inflight entertainment guide.
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