FCC Reverses Course on In-Flight Phone Calls

By Paul Riegler on 10 April 2017
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A Delta plane approaching LAX

A Delta plane approaching LAX

The Federal Communications Commission is withdrawing a 2013 proposal that would have permitted passengers to use their mobile phones to place and receive calls during flights.

A 2013 survey conducted by Frequent Business Traveler found that over 90% of frequent flyers are opposed to in-flight calling.

In November 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration lifted a ban on the use of personal electronics during taxi, takeoff, and landing. Earlier in the month, then FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced a proposal to repeal the agency’s ban on in-flight use of mobile phones. Wheeler’s plan never really took off because it was met by a firestorm of opposition. Several airline CEOs publicly came out against it, the House of Representatives considered a ban on in-flight calling, and the Department of Transportation, whose decision would take precedence over the FCC and FAA, then said it was considering a ban as well.
Wheeler’s successor at the FCC, Ajit Pai, is responsible for the move, calling the plan “ill-conceived.”

“Taking it off the table permanently will be a victory for Americans across the country who, like me, value a moment of quiet at 30,000 feet,” he said.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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