Should the FCC lift restrictions on cellphone calls during airline flights?

File photo: Flight departs MPS airport. (AP Photo/Andy King)

Rules against making cellphone calls during airline flights are “outdated,” and it’s time to change them, federal regulators said Thursday, drawing immediate howls of protest from flight attendants, airline officials and others,” write Joan Lowy and Scott Mayerowitz for the AP.

Tom Wheeler, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said in a statement Thursday that the commission was proposing greater in-flight access to mobile broadband. The proposal will be considered at the commission’s Dec. 12 meeting.

“The time is right to review our outdated and restrictive rules,” Wheeler said, adding that modern technologies can deliver mobile services in the air safely and reliably.

Today’s Question: Should the FCC lift restrictions on cellphone calls during airline flights?

  • AndyBriebart

    Probably. But that means that I will need to get rid of the ear bud type headphones and buy those Bose noise cancellation types. Listening to some junior high girl talk about how cute some guy is or some parent yelling at their kids or someone discussing the details of a business transaction has just made flying even more annoying.

    • Gertrude

      Wow – another sales opportunity for airlines. An extra charge to be in a quiet section. There is only safety reason safety reason to ban cell phone usage during a flight – an annoyed passenger trashing someone else’s phone. It’s bas enough flying these days without some yahoo jabbering the whole time.

  • Keith

    Just because you can talk to someone doesn’t mean that you should. Can’t people stand to be unplugged for just a few hours? :(

  • KTN

    It’s inevitable I suppose, but maybe they will relegate phone users to the back of the plane like they used to do with smokers.

  • Pearly

    Wow. Now we’re getting somewhere.
    zzzzzzzzzzzzzz……………….

  • John O.

    There is a reason that Amtrak, for instance, has “quiet cars” on many of their Acela routes. Andy pretty much nails it in his post.

  • Kristin Dean

    Agreed with Andy. It would be completely annoying.

  • Bill

    It won’t matter, the phones will not work reliably at 35,000 ft. They will work at zero to 2,000 ft but the speed of the plane and the towers that need to be constantly switched to connect the phone are not designed for high speed switching. That’s why the September 11, 2001 calls were phony. Phones in cars on the ground going 70 mph can be switched from tower to tower reliably but jets moving at 550 mph at altitudes of 2,000-35,000 ft can’t.

  • Jim G

    Oh, I suppose the yada, yada, yada is coming to the seat next to me. I’m planning on using BOTH armrests when sitting next to those Yadaists. I’ll visualize sitting in a deer stand in a nice quiet wood with the comparative soothing sound of gunfire going off all around.

  • Rich in Duluth

    Yes. There seems to be no safety reason to ban cell phone calls on airline flights.

    However, there should be a social stigma associated with the use of cell phones on
    airplanes or any public place that tends to keep the calls brief and the volume
    down.

  • Chris Rathbun

    so, people complain about people texting and FBing and Tweeting, and they complain about talking on the phone. they should just put everyone to sleep on a plane… problem solved.

  • PaulJ

    It’s very rude to phone in public unless everyone is doing it. Maybe the airlines could bring back the phone booth and charge an extra fee.

  • JQP

    For texting only.

    Its bad enough to listen to some self-important bombast bloviating about his latest hang-nail while in the terminal. I DO NOT want to be trapped next to this verbose lout on a 3 hour flight.

  • shyestviolet

    If it does, I’d love to see the airlines implement some sort of no-phone policy.

  • david

    I hope not. Hopefully airline greed will keep it from happening. I doubt they’ll allow the competition with their own passenger phone monopoly. And as it stands now the exorbitant cost of those phone has kept anyone using one in my experience.

  • kevins

    I suppose that the FCC can do what it pleases, and I’m betting that many will like being able to use their electronic devices on the plane. Truth is, flying isn’t much fun anymore, and will deteriorate further. I for one don’t like listening to a loud, one-way dialogue in the middle of the produce section at the grocery store, trying to politely evade the cart of the clueless person whose call is so important that all there must hear half of it also. Now, oh nightmare, to be straped into the seat next to that person for three hours….

  • davidz

    I can imagine only a few “everyday” things that would be more annoying than spending hours on a plane cooped up between competing phone calls.

    I hope Gen. Hayden’s experience (fmr. CIA & NSA directory caught out as an anonymous source by a nearby tweeter) comes to the mind of everyone trying to make “one more” sales call while on a plane. We can all hear what you’re doing; and like as not, we can hear the other side of the conversation too.

    During my days of constant business travel, the plane was a welcome downtime. Now people seem to feel compelled to make use of that time for work too, especially since WiFi is ubiquitous on planes.

    Use the phone/cellular network all you like, just not for making phone calls, please.

  • Lisa H

    NO! I can’t think of anything worse than sitting next to someone gabbing the whole trip w/ the toddler back home or just trying to talk their way through their flight anxiety. Even worse would be the overnight flight w/ time-zones & the person next to you getting the phone call b/c it’s morning back home! PLEASE…keep air travel free from cell-phone addicts! Or, charge them $100/minute….a perfect solution for the airlines to make more money! If their phone calls are so important, they should take the train or bus.

  • Julis

    They should only allow Non-Verbal use of phones, and other electronic gadgets. That should be quite obvious, in my opinion.