Feature Article

August 06, 2014

Department of Transportation Cracks Down on More Stringent Laws for Airplane Cell Phone Usage

The world of airline transportation is rapidly changing its policy on which devices can and can't be used on planes, with some airlines even going as far as to provide in-flight Wi-Fi services for passengers to enjoy. With more devices being allowed on planes, it should stand to reason that cell phones will be given the green light for in-flight usage soon, right? Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case, as the U.S. Government and the Department of Transportation are in the process of placing a formal ban on in-flight cellular calls.

While the DOT has still not made a final decision on the matter, it appears that they are leaning towards keeping passengers off their phones while they are in the air, at least for making phone calls. Texting and other data usage does not cause any disruptive effects for the flight crew, but voice calls sent over cellular networks can disrupt pilot communications. While mobile VoIP calls use a Wi-Fi network to connect their calls and get around this particular issue, they still suck up a large amount of the limited bandwidth available on such flights.

In addition to the fact that voice calls can be disruptive to flight crews, passengers also tend to find them quite annoying. After all, nobody wants to be sitting next to someone in a conference call for the next 20 minutes on what would otherwise be a relaxing flight.

Ultimately, the DOT labels this issue as one of consumer-protection, and claims that banning in-flight calls would allow airlines to provide “safe and adequate” service, in addition to protecting their customers from what could be construed as “unfair and deceptive practices.” Of course, some airlines may offer services that would allow passengers to circumvent these issues without disrupting passengers or crew, such as in-flight phone booths.

Edited by Adam Brandt

FOLLOW MobilityTechzone

Subscribe to MobilityTechzone eNews

MobilityTechzone eNews delivers the latest news impacting technology in the Wireless industry each week. Sign up to receive FREE breaking news today!
FREE eNewsletter