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Travel Tip: FAA May Reconsider Use of Cell Phones on Airplanes

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Image Credit: Stephanie Ervin

It’s the news that frequent flyers like me hoped would never come.

There has been an announcement that the FAA is considering allowing in-flight cell phone calls from airplanes.

For years, cell calls were banned on commercial flights—not from the FAA, but from the FCC, concerned about signal interference both in the air and on the ground.

But the technical problems have apparently been solved, and now the idea of allowing passengers to use their cell phones on flights is being actively considered.

Flight attendants hate the idea—the notion of someone yelling in a one-way conversation at 38,000 feet scares them, because they will have to interrupt that call to ask the passenger to keep it down.

Frequent flyers hate the idea for two reasons—the disruption of an otherwise peaceful flight by the person sitting next to you, and the notion that the airplane remains one of the last bastions of privacy and solitude left in our modern society.

If this happens, the FAA is apparently going to let individual airlines make their own decisions as to whether or not to allow the cell calls.

Most airlines I’ve spoken with are not in favor of the idea.

Unless an airline builds a cone of silence, or installs an airborne noise-buffered phone booth, the odds of calls being allowed on flights are not high.

A decision by the FAA about the use of cell phones on airplanes is expected in the next six months.

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