Sci-tech

US regulators aim to keep the ban on in-flight phone calls

US regulators aim to keep the ban on in-flight phone calls

Wheeler said that while the ban would be lifted under his proposal, it would be up to individual airlines to decide whether or not to allow calls on their flights.

Soon after the rule was introduced, flyers sent dozens of passionate comments to the FCC urging the commission to vote against allowing passengers to make in-flight phone calls. That proposal will need a confirmation vote but that appears to be a formality with fellow commissioner Michael O'Rielly backing Pai, enough for a majority vote with only three commissioners now in office. But FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued an order that would stop said proposal from moving forward. In Pai's own words, he says reversing the proposal is "a victory for Americans" who "value a moment of quiet at 30,000 feet".

Airline industry groups and labor unions adamantly opposed the idea amid worries about noisy flights and other disturbances.

It's been 26 years since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) first enacted a ban on phone calls aboard aeroplanes, over concerns of cellphone signals interfering with aircraft communications systems. Let us know your thoughts in the comments? "It also put the comfort of our passengers in jeopardy". Trade groups representing pilots and flight attendants criticized the proposal. The travelers and crew don't need voice calls on flights.

The firm, which offers voice services on four airlines flying to America, told USA Today that only about 5% of passengers use it, with calls lasting an average of just two minutes.

If the FCC did end up changing its rule, the final determination would have been left up to the US Department of Transportation - and then to individual airlines - on whether to allow phone calls. "It is also important to note that we are not aware of any carriers that now allow voice calls or plan to do so in the future". Anthony Foxx, the former transportation secretary, said he was trying to close the floodgates before they open farther.

For this, Alexander said Pai "earned the gratitude of 2 million Americans who fly".


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