Transportation Department leaning toward keeping the ban on in-flight cellphone calls

Transportation Department leaning toward keeping the ban on in-flight cellphone calls
Worried about bothering passengers and flight crew in the middle of a flight, the DOT is leaning toward continuing the ban on in-flight voice calls. The FCC in December had voted 3-2 in favor of lifting the ban, even though FCC commissioner Tom Wheeler had previously mentioned that he didn't like the idea. For the ban to be lifted, the DOT will have to vote the same way as the FCC. And that is something that does not look promising.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Transportation Department is close to making a decision. The airlines are believed to be pushing the Department for an answer, even if it looks like that answer is going to be in the negative. When the DOT does makes its decision, we could hear some choice comments from them. The airlines think that they should be having the final say, not the government agency.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has already gone on record as saying that he believes that flight crew and passengers do not want to be disrupted by phone conversations. The DOT does have the right to make the final decision about lifting the ban on in-flight cellphone calls, under transportation law that gives the agency the job of making sure that airlines provide "safe and adequate" service.

As it turns out, passengers might not be so keen on making in-flight calls after all. AeroMobile Communications Ltd., a U.K. company that provides mobile service to foreign airlines, says that its service is used for calls just 20% of the time. Most passengers employing the service use it for texting and for downloading data.

source: WSJ

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9 Comments

1. amiaq

Posts: 509; Member since: Jun 30, 2012

My pet hate, people who answer their phones during business transactions. Come on let the phone rings out. While on the plane that's the only rare occasion people can't use their mobile.

2. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

But those dreadful GTE on-board phones were just dandy, weren't they?

3. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

Nobody ever really used them because they were ridiculously expensive which is exactly why they are no longer there. I normally don't care for the govt telling us what to do but in this case I agree that a bunch of passengers on the phone would be disruptive. Now sms and data (which we already have via WiFi) is a different story. You know youre or gonna die if you don't have access to your phone during a flight.

4. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

I think they should make air travel as terrible as possible until all the airlines go bankrupt. That's the only these way these stooges will ever learn.

5. johnbftl

Posts: 283; Member since: Jun 09, 2012

Yes, that's a great and logical idea! Let's all bankrupt the airline industry making it near impossible for people to travel. Wanna take a trip to Hawaii? Sure, just hop on Amtrak to Los Angeles, take a cab to the port and boat it on over. Jewish and want to make your Aliyah to Yisrael? I'm sorry, have fun trying to get there. Iranian and trying to escape having to serve military service by leaving the country for the U.S.? You're out of luck. The airline industry is gone there buddy! It's all worth it though right? Those evil airlines are unjustly sucking people dry of their money? Who cares about people that need air travel to accomplish life goals or survive to have a better or safer life. Screw them huh? The world would be such a better place if we just destroyed all corporations and joined your granola chomping hippy commune smoking reefer all day and wearing clothes made out of hemp right?

6. bracketslash

Posts: 16; Member since: Jan 13, 2014

Well, that escalated quickly!

8. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

"The world would be such a better place if we just destroyed all corporations and joined your granola chomping hippy commune smoking reefer all day and wearing clothes made out of hemp right?" "Better" is subjective, but my guess is that the hippie world you describe would be a lot more peaceful than anything we have today. Now what you wrote had little to do with my original point. Why was there even a debate? Of course everyone talking on their cell phone would be hugely annoying and make plane travel terrible. Having this as an option is disingenuous BS. Maybe politicians should focus on real problems? Like the entire clusterf**k of "security theatre" that people need to endure to even get on the plane...

7. cncrim

Posts: 1586; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Why bother ban on flight call, lets people have that choice just charge them $2 a mintues, no one will try to make phone unless emergency like 911. lets the liberty market, has it said.

9. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Because $2 a minute is next to nothing for some people. And all it takes is one obnoxious jerk on a cell phone to ruin a trip for quite a few passengers.

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