FCC: In-Flight Phone Use Up to Airlines

After acknowledging that mobile technology does not interfere with flights

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Airlines will have the last word on in-flight phone policies, the Federal Communications Commission Chairman announced Friday, responding to backlash over the agency’s proposal to ease restrictions on mobile phones.

“We understand that many passengers would prefer that voice calls not be made on airplanes. I feel that
way myself,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement on the agency’s website. “Ultimately, if the FCC adopts the proposal in the coming months, it will be airlines’ decisions, in consultation with their customers, as to whether to permit voice calls while airborne.”

The FCC announced a proposal Thursday to loosen restrictions on cellphone use on flights, acknowledging that mobile technology does not interfere with flights. The proposal sparked criticism from some lawmakers who said the new policy would be disruptive.

Delta Air Lines plans to continue banning phone use regardless of a new FCC policy, while JetBlue said it would consider the option. Southwest, Alaska Airlines, American and United are monitoring feedback from customers, Politico reports.

The FCC scheduled a vote on the issue for Dec. 12.

10 comments
mlisawms
mlisawms

I say no to talking on planes-its bad enough we have to listen to them in the gate area but not on the plane that is my 2

hours of sleep time  and I don't want to hear your business plan, you talking to a friend, coworker, lover or just anybody and being rude about it cause if I have to sit next to you I will be doing a lot of things to make you feel so uncomfortable while on the phone.

ed.teched
ed.teched

If there's one thing we learned about the airlines is that they will find a way to monetize everything and anything. I'm kinda surprised that there isn't a fee to use the restrooms on airplanes yet!

I suspect that this cellphone use on an airplane will be no different. Airlines will most likely use some kind of cellular capture device that routes your cellphone call through a mini-cell onboard the airplane that will then require you to pay for the priviledge of making a phone call. Kinda like when you use an open WiFi that redirects you to a webpage requiring approval. I have heard that ocean liners can charge up to $25/minute for this very same thing...so if the cruise ships can get away with it, I suspect that the airlines will do something similar. because no way will the airlines lose this potential revenue stream!

tucker9
tucker9

Congress voted this down a few years ago because they fly every week and didn't want to be annoyed by other people's phone calls.  However, we live in a free country and in my opinion neither congress nor the FCC should be dictating our social behavior.  This is something that should be addressed by the airlines or the passengers themselves, not the government.  I don't like being in a restaurant where people talk loudly on their phones, but I don't think the government needs to be involved in that and I feel the same way about cell phone usage on planes.  The government has many other problems to deal with,  do we really want the government to be the arbiters of social etiquette?  

BillWright
BillWright

Talk on cell phones on planes should be treated like smoking on planes -- don't do it!  The last thing we need is rude people and obnoxious ring tones on a crowded flight.

ffiler1947
ffiler1947

The last time checked cell phones on had range on a good day of about a 5 miles or a little over 20,000 feet so unless they are going to a cell tower on the plane I'm not sure how that would really work?  Which is a good thing in my eyes.  40,000 ft is the quite zone

beecherjeeper
beecherjeeper

Great way to coordinate terrorist attacks while in flight.

tsoraci
tsoraci

I can't image being stuck next to someone squawking away on their phone for 5-6 hours... They really need to limit it to texting. 

ed.teched
ed.teched

That's it exactly! Airlines will most likely use some kind of mini-cell onboard the aircraft that will re-route your call through the aircraft's communication systems. As such, there will most likey be a fee for this priviledge. If the cruise ships can do it, so can the airlines! I can only hope that the fee will be so prohibitive, the vast majority of travelers will not use the service...but as we have seen in the past, the airlines have a habit of monetizing everything and anything...and I see this as no different!

stevek77536
stevek77536

@tsoraci "Yeah, we're over some lake now ... I can see some boats, maybe some, I dunno ... I like this phone, it has a neat game ...  let me read you this ad in SkyMall magazine ...  arrrggghhh"  (Drops dead, strangled by four other passengers.)

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