Check out the reason why FCC Chairman Pai won't allow internet voice calls on airplanes

Check out the reason why FCC Chairman Pai won't allow internet voice calls on airplanes
According to CNN, there is one thing that prevents most airlines from allowing passengers to use their phones to make calls during a flight. It has nothing to do with radio signals interfering with the controls in the cockpit; it has everything to do with opposition from flight attendants and others who say that allowing calls to be made on a flight would lead to more conflicts and chaos in the sky. In two different emails, Taylor Garland, spokesperson for the Association of Flight Attendants, made the position of her union clear. "We are strongly against voice calls on planes," she wrote in one email. In another missive, she typed, "NO CELL PHONES."

A Frontier Airlines flight attendant by the name of Cassandra Michele Brown worried that unregulated cellphone use on an airplane would probably make it hard for passengers to follow flight attendants' directions in case of an emergency. Brown said, "At the end of the day, our job is to evacuate an aircraft in 90 seconds or less. If you're a passenger on my flight, no matter how good you might be at multitasking, you're not going to be able to follow my step-by-step instructions to evacuate if you're focusing on your phone."

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says he values silence at 30,000 feet


As for those fears about phone use messing with the pilot's controls in the cockpit, it seems that newer handsets operate at higher frequencies than used by the electronics on a plane. And newer aircraft are designed with passengers' on board electronic devices in mind. Seth Miller, an airline industry analyst, says that there is no longer any reason why passengers onboard a plane cannot use their smartphone at will. "The reality is that new technology and new equipment have all but eliminated this problem," Miller said. "There's no longer any technical reason for people to not use cell phones on planes. When there are safety reasons for something not to happen, the aviation world always will try to err on the side of safety. On the flip side, now that we know there's no risk associated with cell phone use in-flight, the FAA and the FCC might change the rules, and if they do, it's not a given that airlines will embrace it."


An executive at one of the satellite companies that offer internet service on international flights said that allowing voice calls over internet would be a snap. "Most airlines have the ability to permit devices to make voice calls but choose not to. When the industry is ready, it probably will be as simple as flipping a switch." Some airlines already allow passengers to text during a flight. And while it is not illegal to make a call inflight, the FCC blocks the airborne use of two popular cellphone bands. The regulatory agency had proposed allowing passengers to make calls at high altitudes in 2013 under then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. But four years later, current Chairman Ajit Pai put the kibosh on the proposal. His reason? "Taking it off the table permanently will be a victory for Americans who, like me, value a moment of quiet at 30,000 feet,"Pai stated.

Besides the FCC, the FAA also has its own regulations. Section 403 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 says, "The Secretary of Transportation shall issue regulations to prohibit an individual on an aircraft from engaging in voice communications using a mobile communications device during a flight of that aircraft in scheduled passenger interstate or intrastate air transportation."

There are going to be businessmen who relish the possibility of going over the Anderson deal in mid-flight. Or young parents on the way to a vacation destination that want to check in with the sitter. But those who prefer silence on airplanes note that passengers on most flights can pay for Wi-Fi and send emails. And as we just pointed out, many airlines now allow passengers to send and receive text messages.

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9 Comments

1. megaSUNNY

Posts: 93; Member since: Jun 26, 2012

I value my privacy, can I get it too?

2. MsPooks

Posts: 308; Member since: Jul 08, 2019

Value a moment of silence =/= value my privacy

3. MsPooks

Posts: 308; Member since: Jul 08, 2019

If you're flying on an airline, you're not important enough that your calls can't wait. It's not even a private enough environment for phone calls that just can't wait. Besides...does anybody still use their phone to talk? :D

4. LiveFaith

Posts: 517; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

Thank God. C'mon FCC, keep holding to that standard! I cannot imagine th misery of being stuck beside a loudmouth voice caller who is so bored they need to talk during an entire trans continental flight. Maybe they could make an area for voice calls if people just gotta. But, outside getting fondled by TSA, voice calls would be the worst thing thAt ever happened to air travel.

8. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1226; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Exactly my thoughts! It would be a horrible situation.

5. TadTrickle

Posts: 141; Member since: Apr 08, 2019

You can tell Alan Friedman is a far left individual by the way he writes. He has a bone to pick with every little thing this administration does. If the previous chairmen could've gotten it done, he shouldve. Quiet frankly, I agree with the way it is. If you need to communicate, texting will do just fine.

6. Locked-n-Loaded

Posts: 114; Member since: Sep 13, 2019

Can you imagine an International flight with 300 people on board maybe five different languages all living on different time zones talking for the entire 13-hour flight - people are already rude and ignorant on flights this would be such a miserable experience NO PHONE CALLS ON FLIGHTS!!

7. Xxtoxicskittlexx

Posts: 194; Member since: Jun 11, 2018

He’s right. I agree with him this one and only time. Don’t want anybody just yapping next to me or near me while I’m trying to catch some ZzZz

9. tokuzumi

Posts: 1999; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

I hope calls are never allowed on passenger flights. While a majority of people will be respectful with the volume of their voice, there will always be a couple people who will basically be yelling into the phone about their favorite basketball player, or how wheat grass is the fountain of youth, and will disturb the entire flight. I'd probably just stop flying at that point, and take other modes of transportation.

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