The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is considering a vote to allow flight passengers to make in-flight calls. Awesome, right? You know you'd love talking to your bae on that long five-hour flight from LA to NYC, and hear her softly fall asleep over the phone...
... and that's exactly why the U.S. Department of Transportation is planning on banning it again, just in case. Though a ban on in-flight calls has been in effect since the 90s, the FCC might have gotten a little excited at the prospect of letting travelers use their cell phones while in the air, after allowing them use their electronic devices during take-off and landing, starting just a few weeks ago. Before they get ready to vote, the DOT is planning to beat them to the punch and ban it for good, because it would be extremely, extremely annoying if people talked on their phones during a flight. "Over the past few weeks, we have heard of concerns raised by airlines, travelers, flight attendants, members of Congress, and others who are all troubled over the idea of passengers talking on cellphones in flight—and I am concerned about this possibility as well," said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "As the FCC has said before, their sole role on this issue is to examine the technical feasibility of the use of mobile devices in flight… DOT will now begin a process that will look at the possibility of banning these in-flight calls."
For their part, the FCC seems cool with the DOT making the final call, as they wrote in a post.
The FCC’s sole role is to examine the technical feasibility of the use of mobile devices in flight. As the Commission researches and takes public comments on the technical aspects of this issue, the US Department of Transportation, as part of their Aviation Consumer Protection Authority, will determine solely if allowing voice calls is fair to consumers.
USDOT will begin a public process to consider the possibility of banning in-flight calls through notice and comment rulemaking.
Keep your fingers crossed. It's already annoying enough when the person in front of you reclines their seat into your space—having them talk on the phone to their friend about the latest gossip would drive anyone mad.
[via LA Times]