We haven’t fully torn the plastic off our new Kindle, and now there’s debate that the newly revamped FAA electronic rules should be relaxed to include in-flight cell phone calls.
The Wall Street Journal reveals that the same advisory panel that recommended the approval of gadgets during takeoffs and landings also urged the FAA to consult with the Federal Communications Commission in allowing in-flight phone calls since it doesn’t interfere with the aircraft’s technology. However, the FAA shrugged its shoulders because reversing that ban would violate the FCC’s ban on in-flight cellular connections.
And there’s another problem: Nobody wants to be subjected to your mundane conversations while being trapped in a confined, metal tube as hurtles across the earth. The report said allowing calls in the cabin would result in “interpersonal friction between” passengers, and they’re not referring to the Mile High Club.
A poll of 1,600 adults in the FAA advisory panel recommendations showed that 51 percent were against in-flight phone calls. And six in ten flyers said phone calls should be banned during flight — oddly, more than double the second place answer of alcohol. (Really?)
The workaround of using the plane’s Wi-Fi to use services like Viber and Skype is allowable under FAA’s laws, but airlines usually ban VOIP services because they’re irritating and could slow down the Wi-Fi’s speed for your fellow passengers.
Talmon Marco, the CEO of Viber, said he uses his app on international flights but didn’t have the same luck on his domestic flight last year. Following a disagreement with a flight attendant about the law’s loopholes, he was escorted by the police when his plane landed.
“This is a cultural thing, not a safety or security thing,” said Mr. Marco to WSJ. “People should be able to use phones. There’s no difference between an airline and a bus.”
Except that planes fly and silence is golden, Mr. Marco.