today in travel

Regulators ‘Getting Closer’ To Banning In-Flight Phone Calls

Hallelujah.
Phone-free zone? (Photo: File)

Phone call free zone? (Photo: File)

Although the Federal Communications Commission has eased up on its restrictions concerning the use of phones on airplanes, it doesn’t look like they’re going to let you talk on cellphones anytime soon. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, government regulators are “getting closer” to outlawing in-flight calls — much to everyone’s relief, tbh.

Next week, the Department of Transportation is reportedly going to begin pushing for a formal ban of in-flight calls, which can be done using the plane’s Wi-Fi. That entails a series of meetings and hearings that will lead to a “notice of proposed rulemaking,” most likely in December. An agency spokeswoman remained mum on what the final decision is going to be, but sources tell the Journal it’s going to be in the negative column.

Regulators think hearing every Bob and Shirley blabbering on for hours on-end in a contained environment is disruptive and uncomfortable. Airlines, however, are pushing back.

They think the DoT is “overstepping its authority” and should leave the option of in-flight phone calls to each individual company. “Airlines aren’t clamoring to allow mobile-phone use during flight, and some have already said they’d prohibit it on their own flights,” said Jeffrey Shane, a member of the International Air Transport Association to the Journal.

Instead, some airlines are mulling the idea of quiet zones or even in-flight phone booths. Maybe we should just shove them off into the kids cabin?

Follow Jordan Valinsky on Twitter or via RSS. jvalinsky@observer.com