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Future Of Cell Phones On Planes

By Expert Author: Steve Robinson

While most travelers tend to agree on the value of cheap travel options, such as cheap airplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, discount travel deals, and cheap vacation packages, there is wide disagreement over the desirability of allowing airlines passengers to use their cell phone to make and receive calls in the air.

Some passengers never want to be out of touch and view the use of electronic devices while in the air as highly desirable. Others do not want fellow passengers distracting them while flying by talking on their cell phones.

Recently this has become a much hotter topic as a result of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announcing that it is reconsidering its longtime ban on in flight cell phone calls. The FCC has indicated that if its band is lifted in will leave it to individual airlines to determine their own policies regarding the use of electronic devices in the air.

Delta Air Lines has come out saying that its customers and crews do not want passengers making and receiving cell phone calls while in the air. Delta conducted a survey in 2012 that found that the majority of its customers believe that allowing cell phone calls in the air would distract from their flying experience. Delta flight personnel have repeatedly come out against cell phone use on flights.

In attempt to reach a middle ground, Delta has said that if the FCC overturns its ban on cell phone use in the air, that Delta will allow passengers to text, email, or use their cell phones in other ways so long as they are able to do so silently.

JetBlue has received similar customer feedback against allowing in flight cell phone use. The majority of JetBlue customers have told the airline that they do not want voice or video calls on board. JetBlue does not allow passengers to use VOIP onboard and has no plans of installing cellular transponders needed to enable cellular calls.

United Airlines position is less definitive in that it acknowledges that it continues to evaluate the views of its customers and crew members concerning in flight calling. Currently United does not intend to support the use of cellphones on its flights.

British Airways is the first European airlines to allow its passengers to use cell phones and tablet computers while flying. Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority recently lifted restrictions that required all electronic devices be turned off during takeoffs and landings.

British Airways continues to require its passengers to place all electronic devices in “flight safe” mode, which disables texts, voice calls, and network access during takeoffs and landings.

The European Aviation Safety Agency announced in December that airlines will be able to make their own assessments going forward as to the use of electronic devices in the air.

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