FCC Takes Steps to Approve Cell Phones in Flight as Transportation Department Considers Banning Calls on Planes

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Apr 12, 2001
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The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) announced on Thursday that it will consider banning cellular phone calls on planes if the FCC gives airlines the go-ahead to install equipment to support cellular service on flights.

According to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who spoke to Politico, the department will seek to determine whether in-flight calls are fair to consumers.
"We believe USDOT's role, as part of our Aviation Consumer Protection Authority, is to determine if allowing these calls is fair to consumers. USDOT will now begin a process that will look at the possibility of banning these in-flight calls," Foxx said in a statement emailed to POLITICO. "As part of that process, USDOT will give stakeholders and the public significant opportunity to comment."
Foxx's statement was made shortly before the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to approve a proposal to invite comment on the potential change to its rules. The FCC first announced that it was considering allowing airplane passengers to use mobile phones on flights to make voice calls and use cellular data back in November.

The FCC is currently investigating the safety of allowing cell phone service on planes, and with a potential in-flight call ban from the Department of Transportation, a situation could arise where customers are permitted to use cellular data in-flight for texting and web browsing but are banned from making voice calls.
"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," Foxx said in his statement. "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."
Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission officially relaxed its restrictions on the use of portable electronic devices in-flight, allowing them to be used during landing and takeoff. The FCC still requires devices like the iPad and the iPhone to be placed in Airplane Mode, however, with cellular service disabled.

Article Link: FCC Takes Steps to Approve Cell Phones in Flight as Transportation Department Considers Banning Calls on Planes
 

Z400Racer37

macrumors 6502a
Feb 7, 2011
694
1,571
How do these government entities think that they have the right to ban cell phone calls on flights?!? These authoritarian losers make me sick.
Get. Out. Of. My. Life.
 

palmerc2

macrumors 68000
Feb 29, 2008
1,614
664
Los Angeles
That's the last thing we need is 200 people in a small space talking over each other 20,000 ft up.

"HELLO? CAN YOU HEAR ME? SORRY IM ON A PLANE AND ITS REALLY NOISY"
 

Menel

macrumors 603
Aug 4, 2011
6,203
1,136
How do these government entities think that they have the right to ban cell phone calls on flights?!? These authoritarian losers make me sick.
Get. Out. Of. My. Life.
100 ppl chatting away out loud?

**** no.

But. I also say hell no to regulation. Let the airlines decide to make this policy or not.
 

Radio

macrumors 68000
Mar 5, 2012
1,802
3
Central California
I fly on average of 20+ flights a year and please no talking!

We business travelers want it quiet

And shut your baby up.

You're a terrible parent by letting it cry
 

afd

macrumors 65816
Apr 12, 2005
1,020
242
Scotland
I'm very happy with calls being banned on flights, not because the plane might crash, I just don't want to be next to someone for hours listening to them on the phone.
 

iSRS

macrumors 6502
Mar 2, 2010
424
181
Not normally big on regulation

I am OK with this.
Me, too. I am not normally one big on regulation, but enough is enough. We should not have to ever shut our devices down, but voice calls should be avoided.

Is it really a place for the government to get involved, which is my quandary, but I fear them not getting involved may be a nightmare.

This is interesting, as it highlights why no issue is left or right, and how the truth/answer often lies in the middle.
 

ptb42

macrumors 6502a
Oct 14, 2011
703
184
That's the last thing we need is 200 people in a small space talking over each other 20,000 ft up.
At the prices that will be charged for "roaming" on the airplane's femtocell, there will be 1 or 2 people that make a call during a flight. And it will be a short one, unless they are wealthy or the expense is being paid by their employer.

You might have more people making a call for the novelty, but it will quickly wear off, especially after they get the bill.
 

69650

Suspended
Mar 23, 2006
3,367
1,878
England
...a situation could arise where customers are permitted to use cellular data in-flight for texting and web browsing but are banned from making voice calls.
That seems like the perfect solution to me.

Sitting next to someone jabbering away on their mobile phone throughout a long flight would be my idea of hell.
 

Spinland

macrumors 6502
Jul 16, 2011
320
1
Utica, NY, USA
No need for the government to stick their noses in IMO, let the airline companies recognize the negatives and make a business decision not to allow it on their aircraft. Just let one person lock themselves into a bathroom for a "private" call or to be able to hear better, and a line of full bladders will a group of unhappy customers make.
 

epmatsw

macrumors member
Jun 18, 2007
78
1
It's funny how no one every complains about people talking on their phones on buses or trains...
 

Toby777

macrumors newbie
Dec 12, 2013
6
2
I also would prefer the ban to stay in place for making calls in flight.

It's a confined space as it is, rather not have numbers of people talking loudly over each other.
 

AndyB2007

macrumors newbie
Oct 13, 2011
9
0
Ok its a while since I've flown transatlantic, but when I did, there were phones in the seats, 1 credit card swipe and make whatever calls you liked - ok so there were some pretty astronomical fees at times, but there are times you need to make a call on a 9 hr flight (think medical & serious business calls, although I think my first was "hey I'm calling from a plane, isn't it cool")

So are they thinking of banning those too?

Keep the costs high - switch roaming off, not an issue, I don't see how its any worse than talking to the person next to you - its not like a train where people shout every time you go through a tunnel...
 

nochiefs

macrumors newbie
Apr 10, 2011
1
0
I fly on average of 20+ flights a year and please no talking!

We business travelers want it quiet

And shut your baby up.

You're a terrible parent by letting it cry
Yea, all those parents should just suffocate their kids, that'll keep 'em quiet for your business.
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,195
How do these government entities think that they have the right to ban cell phone calls on flights?!? These authoritarian losers make me sick.
Get. Out. Of. My. Life.
They thought it for safety reasons (bad science--but when do people listen to science?) and that IS good reason to have a law.

But they were wrong, and now getting rid of the law, as they should.

And no new law or government rule should replace it.

But the airlines, one and all, should ban calls by policy, for the comfort and sanity of your fellow passengers. That's their right, and it's the outcome I hope for. (I would also accept limited calls--like a special room for it, or a high fee--to keep it from being common.)

People who want to smoke on planes, talk on phones, or run amok in the aisles, should save up and buy their own plane :)
 

69650

Suspended
Mar 23, 2006
3,367
1,878
England
It's funny how no one every complains about people talking on their phones on buses or trains...
Oh yes they do. It's just that most people would be afraid to confront someone and tell them to shut up in this day and age when you could be attacked or worse.

In the UK many long distance trains have quiet coaches were mobile phones are banned.
 

zin

macrumors 6502
May 5, 2010
491
6,564
United Kingdom
How do these government entities think that they have the right to ban cell phone calls on flights?!? These authoritarian losers make me sick.
Get. Out. Of. My. Life.
Because unless you charter your own private aircraft, it is everybody's business as to whether you should be permitted to make calls in-flight.
 

bradl

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2008
4,023
11,939
I fly on average of 20+ flights a year and please no talking!

We business travelers want it quiet

And shut your baby up.

You're a terrible parent by letting it cry
Spoken by someone who isn't a parent. A child's life or wanting to eat/nurse is a bit more important than your 'business'.

BL.
 

69650

Suspended
Mar 23, 2006
3,367
1,878
England
How do these government entities think that they have the right to ban cell phone calls on flights?!? These authoritarian losers make me sick. Get. Out. Of. My. Life.
I'm not in favour of government telling me what to do but you have to have a degree of compromise when you're on a plane full of other people. Why are your rights more important than the person sitting next to you? So we need some rules to make it equal for everyone. You could still email or text, you don't have to call.
 

icrew

macrumors member
Feb 18, 2003
73
26
It's funny how no one every complains about people talking on their phones on buses or trains...
On a bus or train, it's easy enough to move to another seat/car. On a plane, not so much.

And yes, I do complain about people talking on a bus or train, especially those idiots who seem to think it's necessary to use their speakerphone.

Is "phone rage" a thing yet? If not, it sure as hell will be if this is allowed on planes.
 

barkomatic

macrumors 601
Aug 8, 2008
4,072
1,856
Manhattan
I think that if the FCC permits calls, then I don't think the DOT will be able to restrict just calling while allowing data and texting use. It sucks, but there is a large group of people that will use the phone regardless once they know there isn't a scientific reason not to use it.

That being said, I'm not sure how consistent people would have service that high traveling 400mph--and definitely not over the ocean.
 
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