FCC Chairman Hopes to Keep Phone Conversations Off Flights

Apr 13, 2017

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It looks like the FCC’s ban on in-flight phone calls will remain in place for a long time to come. This week, the US Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai shared that he’s against the December 2013 proposal to allow phone calls while in the air. Note that this vote isn’t completely finalized yet, but it’s likely to pass, as two of the three commissioners have already come out opposing it.

The proceeding has sparked a fiery debate for those who fly frequently. Planes have historically been one of the few places we can go to totally disconnect at least from traditional phone calls, since in-air Wi-Fi is increasingly more common. Since it was announced that in-air phone calls were a possibility, people have voiced their outrage at the idea. Many want their flights to remain free of incessant chatter from fellow passengers.

In fact, according to USA Today, the FCC received 1,425 comments that were overwhelmingly against allowing phone calls on flights. Flight attendants and pilots have expressed their opposition to the proposal. In addition, in February 2014, the Department of Transportation looked for public comment as to what people thought about the possibility of lifting the ban and found that 96% of respondents favored the ban.

Of course, nowadays, it’s easy for anyone to make a call on a plane thanks to apps that allow you to make calls over Wi-Fi. However, current federal restrictions and airline rules ban voice calls altogether. There are several airlines in the Middle East, Europe and Asia that allow travelers to make calls while in the air, but the US is reluctant to follow suit.

While nothing’s finalized yet, it’s likely that you won’t be able to make (or take) a traditional phone call on a plane any time soon. Think of it what you will, but passengers everywhere who were opposed it are likely breathing a sigh of relief after hearing this news.

Featured image courtesy of Jose Luis Pelaez Inc via Getty Images.

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