European regulator Ofcom has proposed allowing cellphones in airplanes in EU airspace, making it more likely that Europeans will soon be able to chat in the air. Under the proposal, a mobile base station could be installed on planes, and the signal would be routed by satellite. The FAA ruled that it would not allow cell phones on American flights in the near future.
If the system is instituted, things will get tricky when planes fly over airspace where the phones aren't legal. "Potentially, once the system is up and running, when you fly into other airspace outside the EU you would have to comply with the individual countries' jurisdiction and their regulations," says an Ofcom spokesman.