U.S. government may ban in-flight cellphone calls, airlines voice disapproval

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2014
The U.S. Department of Transportation is reportedly inching closer to signing off on new rules that would restrict the use of cellphones on planes, but carriers say the judgment should be up to them.

Hawaiian Airlines


Citing people who attended a speech given by DOT general counsel Kathryn Thomson at the International Aviation Club in Washington last week, The Wall Street Journal reports the agency is taking steps toward formally banning cellular phone calls made during U.S. flights.

According to two spokespeople, the DOT is preparing a "notice of proposed rulemaking" that applies to in-flight calls, though the contents of said regulations has yet to be decided. The report notes, however, that the agency has been looking to end potentially disruptive voice calls under consumer protection laws that require airlines to provide "safe and adequate" service.

Some airlines have already chosen to place their own restrictions on in-flight cellphone calling, but others that want to use the feature as a way to stand apart from the competition argue the Transportation Department is overstepping its bounds.

Use of personal electronic devices has been a heated topic for travelers since Apple helped usher in the rise of smartphones in 2007. In 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration announced a rule modification that allows passengers to operate PEDs gate-to-gate, overturning a long-standing restriction that prohibited use below an altitude of 10,000 feet. The FAA did not, however, include cellular calling in its rule change, meaning smartphones still need to be in Airplane Mode during all phases of flight.

A report in November noted that the Federal Communications Commission was debating a change to current in-flight calling rules that would allow carriers to decide whether to extend the feature to passengers. After a meeting in December, the FCC officially proposed a measure, but a formal rule has yet to be issued.

The DOT is set to publish the proposed rulemaking document in December. In the case that its decision conflicts with an FCC mandate, the DOT's determination would take precedent.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 74
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,980member
    Wait, didn't the FAA approve in flight cell phone usage? How does then another federal agency supercede that decision? Especially one I had no idea had jurisdiction over air transportation.
  • Reply 2 of 74
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,157member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post



    Wait, didn't the FAA approve in flight cell phone usage? How does then another federal agency supercede that decision? Especially one I had no idea had jurisdiction over air transportation.

     

    FAA is an agency under the US DOT.

  • Reply 3 of 74
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,415member

    Happily, the article doesn't confuse the issue by referring to the history of it.../s

  • Reply 4 of 74
    vicpvicp Posts: 11member

    The airlines probably want to be able add a fee to passengers who want to make cellphone calls, and also add a fee to passengers who want to sit in a section where cellphone calls aren't allowed.

  • Reply 5 of 74
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vicp View Post

     

    The airlines probably want to be able add a fee to passengers who want to make cellphone calls, and also add a fee to passengers who want to sit in a section where cellphone calls aren't allowed.


    I think cell calls should be disallowed, and not for any technical reasons, just because it is rude to talk on a phone in crowded public places.

     

    CAN YOU HEAR ME?

     

    I always try to fly business class and it is usually a very quiet and relaxing environment where passengers generally have more respect and manners than in the cattle car that is coach.

  • Reply 6 of 74
    vicpvicp Posts: 11member

    100% agree.

  • Reply 7 of 74

    I heartily endorse this proposal - Art Linkletter.

  • Reply 8 of 74
    grbladegrblade Posts: 85member

    FAA says cell phones could technically be safely used, but DOT says no one wants to be forced to listen to your neighbor talking for 5 hours. I approve. Thank you, DOT.

  • Reply 9 of 74
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by grblade View Post

     

    FAA says cell phones could technically be safely used, but DOT says no one wants to be forced to listen to your neighbor talking for 5 hours. I approve. Thank you, DOT.




    Can you imagine how many times you'd have to hear, "Hey! Guess where I'm calling from!"?

  • Reply 10 of 74
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,980member
    nasserae wrote: »
    FAA is an agency under the US DOT.

    Ahhhh I did not know that. Thanks.
  • Reply 11 of 74
    formosaformosa Posts: 261member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by grblade View Post

     

    FAA says cell phones could technically be safely used, but DOT says no one wants to be forced to listen to your neighbor talking for 5 hours. I approve. Thank you, DOT.


     

    I remember when planes got a little bit quieter when digital music players/iPods came on the scene. Then they got quieter again when tablets were allowed, especially when they were allowed gate-to-gate.

     

    Airplanes will be hell if cell phone calls are allowed. I'd pay extra to ban all phone calls.

  • Reply 12 of 74
    Do we really need a government agency passing law that would prohibit this? Let the individual airlines make that decision. I get tire of all the over regulation this government does.
  • Reply 13 of 74
    kgscott86 wrote: »
    Do we really need a government agency passing law that would prohibit this? Let the individual airlines make that decision. I get tire of all the over regulation this government does.

    Protecting the public from rude cellphone users is the FAA's job. /s
  • Reply 14 of 74
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,415member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vicp View Post

     

    The airlines probably want to be able add a fee to passengers who want to make cellphone calls, and also add a fee to passengers who want to sit in a section where cellphone calls aren't allowed.


    I think cell calls should be disallowed, and not for any technical reasons, just because it is rude to talk on a phone in crowded public places.

     

    CAN YOU HEAR ME?

     

    I always try to fly business class and it is usually a very quiet and relaxing environment where passengers generally have more respect and manners than in the cattle car that is coach.


    I usually get my nose out of joint when people use their phones in, say, restaurants, but then,

    aside from the chance to get one's shorts in a bundle for yet another reason,

    I really can't understand why I do.

    After all, once you get past the initial ringtone - assuming the bozos don't use 'vibrate' in such venues -

    you are really only forced to listen to half the talking you'd be exposed to

    by any normal conversation between the two passengers in the seats behind you!

  • Reply 15 of 74
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,113member
    The issue has nothing to do with safety or technology, and everything to do with the social setting of a crowded environment. Some people have good reason to communicate during flights, so consider substitutes. Texting and emailing are much less likely to irritate other passengers.
  • Reply 16 of 74
    doh123doh123 Posts: 323member
    yeah... if we don't like something, we should get it banned... the New American way!
  • Reply 17 of 74
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member

    Surprised. I had thought the airlines themselves were opposed to allowance of cell calls in flight. The amount of customers a carrier would lose (maybe aside from smaller business commuter flights) would be staggering.

     

    First time I board a flight where they allow people to yack on their cells, is the last time I ever fly that airline. And I'm not anywhere near alone.

  • Reply 18 of 74

    The government should ban all cell phone calls if anybody else is within 50 feet.

  • Reply 19 of 74
    kkerstkkerst Posts: 330member

    The Government should......

  • Reply 20 of 74
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,898member

    Unlike a subway or other public place, on an airplane I can not change my seat to get away from an inconsiderate caller. Therefore, they should be banned on airplanes.

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