(Source: CNA Traveler)
In-flight cell phone calls may be coming to a domestic flight near you in the future

With the rise of tablets and in-flight internet, passengers began to complain loudly about the restrictions placed on electronic devices during flights — specifically during takeoffs and landings. After years of debating the matter, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) finally caved last month and allowed airlines to grant passengers the ability to use their tablets and cell phones (in airplane mode) during all phases of flight.
The change in policy culminated today with Southwest’s announcement that it would provide in-flight internet access to its passengers from gate-to-gate.
However, while the overwhelming majority of regular airline passengers seemed to support passengers to use their electronic devices in their own “cone of silence” courtesy of headphones, it seems that an equally overwhelming majority don’t want passengers to have the ability to talk on their cell phones during flights.
That may be soon changing if recent comments [PDF] by new FCC chairman Tom Wheeler are to be taken seriously. In a brief statement, Wheeler said the following:
Today, we circulated a proposal to expand consumer access and choice for in-flight mobile broadband. Modern technologies can deliver mobile services in the air safely and reliably, and the time is right to review our outdated and restrictive rules. I look forward to working closely with my colleagues, the FAA, and the airline industry on this review of new mobile opportunities for consumers.
According to NBC News, the proposal will be debated at the commission’s December 12 meeting.
Not surprisingly, negative reaction to this news has already begun to spread, with the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) taking the first shot. "Passengers overwhelmingly reject cellphone use in the aircraft cabin. The FCC should not proceed with this proposal," said the AFA in a statement. "In far too many operational scenarios, passengers making phone calls could extend beyond a mere nuisance, creating negative effects on aviation safety and security that are great and far too risky.”
Travel analyst Henry Harteveldt, however, probably best summed up public reaction to this latest news by stating, "There are bad ideas, and then there's this."
"The constant chatter of passengers on their mobile phones has the potential to further increase tension among already stressed-out passengers. It will be a catalyst for increased cases of 'air rage.'"

Sources: FCC [PDF], NBC News

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki