LONDON -- Virgin Atlantic will now allow passengers to make and receive cell phone calls while in flight.

The privilege is only available on certain flights and only six passengers at a time will be able to use the system.

According to the airline, the new call rule is intended only "for use in exceptional situations."

Passengers will be able to send text messages, make a call or access email on mobile devices.

Initially, the service -- which utilizes a satellite connection -- will only be available for customers of European cell phone providers O2 and Vodafone and U.S. carrier T-Mobile.

The service debuted Tuesday on the airline's new Airbus A330-300 planes flying between New York and London.

The airline won't charge extra for the service, but cell phone users will be charged their carrier's international roaming rates.

Dubai-based Emirates became the first carrier to allow passengers to use their personal cell phones back in 2008.

This new phone service is part of a larger $160 million dollar upgrade of the airline's Upper Class cabin, although it will be also available to passengers in coach.

Calls are not permitted during take-off or landing or within 250 miles of U.S. airspace.