Finnair will enable passengers to send mobile text messages and e-mails on flights to the Far East starting next month.
The service will become possible on satellite telephones provided at each seat of the airline's new Airbus A340 aircraft, to be delivered in June. It will first be available on routes from Helsinki to the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Nagoya, and Shanghai, China.
Passengers will be able to read and answer messages and mail sent from the ground. Each sent or received message will cost $2, the Finnish carrier said. Passengers will be able to call each other during flights.
In-flight Internet services have had mixed success.
Last year, Boeing Co. pulled the plug on Connexion, which gave passengers high-speed Internet hookups, via satellite, starting at $10 for the first hour. The aircraft manufacturer said that while it had deals with major international carriers such as Germany's Lufthansa AG, Japan Airlines Corp., Korean Air Co., and Singapore Airlines, large U.S. carriers were reluctant to invest in the service.