Air NZ's new planes allow mobile phones

Passengers flying on Air New Zealand's new Boeing 777 will be able to use mobile phones and laptop broadband connections - but it will be expensive.

They are not allowing voice calls however.

The airline says its new 777's arriving in November will enable customers to use their iPhone, Blackberry and GSM mobile phones for emails and text message in flights.

 "Feedback from our customers has shown they wish to be able to text, and check emails, to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues during their long-haul flights," says Ed Sims Air New Zealand Group General Manager.

"Customers onboard our new Boeing 777-300 aircraft will be able to use their own GSM/GPRS devices safely when the system is activated during the cruise stage of flight.

"Passengers will also be requested to keep their phones on 'silent' mode."

Aeromobile will provide the service and customers will be billed by their own service providers on international roaming.

Standard inflight roaming costs apply, which with Telecom XT is 80c per outbound text and no cost to receive them.

The cost for mobile broadband is $40.00 per megabyte of data.

Other mobile phone providers, including Vodafone, will be confirming pricing in the coming months.