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Do the Verizon Airfones on UA Aircraft Still Work?

Do the Verizon Airfones on UA Aircraft Still Work?

Old Jan 10, 11, 11:15 pm
  #1  
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Do the Verizon Airfones on UA Aircraft Still Work?

Ok, maybe I'm mad, but last time I flew UA F, I happened to take out the satphone in the holder, and saw an option for seat to seat calling for free (and asked for a seat number when I hit it).

As I was alone on the flight, and it was late at night, so I didn't want to risk waking someone up (or scaring someone), but I was curious if anyone knows anything about this feature? Seems like it might be useful if your party is split up.
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Old Jan 10, 11, 11:50 pm
  #2  
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I had this 11 years ago on a CO 777 flight. I was a teenager at the time with a group, so obviously this was an awesome feature for us to have (Not sure how many of the people trying to sleep or watch movies enjoyed it)
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Old Jan 11, 11, 12:23 am
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I believe Air Pacific had it on my run to Fiji (thnx FT!) years back, but the people I knew on the plane were all pretty close to me or asleep the whole flight so I didn't experiment with it. There were a lot of large men wearing sulus, and they didn't look like they wanted to be woken up by a random phone call from a skinny haole.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 1:05 am
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I do recall seeing it a few years ago on a ghetto-bird from IAD-DEN.. Haven't seen the Airphones active since then.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 8:47 am
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Wow, that brings back memories. I remember using those phones back in the mid-late 90's. Mostly just did seat-to-seat calling for people a row away (what a novelty!), but once actually purchased a game and made an actual phone call while chaperoning a family friend from ATL to DEN and eventually Aspen for the Aspen Music Festival (she was a camper there).
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Old Jan 11, 11, 8:50 am
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Originally Posted by FriendlySkies View Post
I do recall seeing it a few years ago on a ghetto-bird from IAD-DEN.. Haven't seen the Airphones active since then.
The vast majority of my flights seem to have the Airphone system active; kinda surprising since I have never seen anyone ever use it, and I question if its actually profitable for United.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 8:54 am
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On a p.s. flight with WiFi, I suppose one could do seat-to-seat IM.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 9:23 am
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Originally Posted by FlyinHawaiian View Post
On a p.s. flight with WiFi, I suppose one could do seat-to-seat IM.
Indeed, one (ahem, yours truly) has
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Old Jan 11, 11, 9:27 am
  #9  
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Airphone Memories

When I was a kid I remember my father calling from the air, it used to the "Coolest thing ever!"

Oh the day's before we all txted "Taking off...bye"
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Old Jan 11, 11, 9:32 am
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Originally Posted by FlyinHawaiian View Post
On a p.s. flight with WiFi, I suppose one could do seat-to-seat IM.
Or on any VX flight with their RED system.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 9:34 am
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Once back in 1999, I got on a standby flight and my cell phone was dead. I used the air phone to call my friend and have her pick me up early. The 30 sec call was $7.00!

I thought I read they reassigned that frequency back in the early 2000s and they don't work anymore, but I could be wrong. I have noticed when they reupholstered a few years ago, they put the cloth right over the phones in the middle seats. You can still see the phone and press the button to eject them, but you would have to cut through the fabric to actually use it.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 10:17 am
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Originally Posted by emanon256 View Post
Once back in 1999, I got on a standby flight and my cell phone was dead. I used the air phone to call my friend and have her pick me up early. The 30 sec call was $7.00!

I thought I read they reassigned that frequency back in the early 2000s and they don't work anymore, but I could be wrong. I have noticed when they reupholstered a few years ago, they put the cloth right over the phones in the middle seats. You can still see the phone and press the button to eject them, but you would have to cut through the fabric to actually use it.
The service was shut off years ago. The OP is talking about the Satellite Phones located in C & F class seats on 3 class planes..those phones are still there but don't have service.. although the seat to seat service might still work.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 10:21 am
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Originally Posted by SEA1K4EVR View Post
The service was shut off years ago. The OP is talking about the Satellite Phones located in C & F class seats on 3 class planes..those phones are still there but don't have service.. although the seat to seat service might still work.
The C & F ones are just like the Y ones that got upholstered over, and I have seen the Seat to Seat option on all of them, even in Y.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 10:23 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by emanon256 View Post
Once back in 1999, I got on a standby flight and my cell phone was dead. I used the air phone to call my friend and have her pick me up early. The 30 sec call was $7.00!

I thought I read they reassigned that frequency back in the early 2000s and they don't work anymore, but I could be wrong. I have noticed when they reupholstered a few years ago, they put the cloth right over the phones in the middle seats. You can still see the phone and press the button to eject them, but you would have to cut through the fabric to actually use it.
Shortly before the service was terminated Verizon Wireless bought it from GTE and operated it as "roaming" service if you had their plan. For $10/month + $0.10/minute it was a bargain. I used it several times to call in for a conference call that was every week during the time that I was commuting home. I convinced my boss to cover the ~$10/week extra in costs to allow me to participate and fly home at a reasonable time from the customer site.

The frequencies were reallocated to LiveTV in 2006, I believe. They were going to be the basis for the Kiteline in-flight internet solution that the company was developing. Sadly, the Kiteline service has been shelved because they couldn't get the antennae manufactured properly.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 10:34 am
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
Or on any VX flight with their RED system.
Or nearly all DL flights, quite a few AA flights, and some US A321s.

I've done seat-to-seat IM with my seatmate before. No need to take off the headphones this way.
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