Mobile Phones Not Welcome On Airplanes

Besides the new rule for emotional support animals, another casualty of the tightening rules on aircraft involves cell phones.

“If you’re like me” is a phrase that is not a great way to begin an article, it reeks of self-indulgence. But if you’re like me, sitting next to a person on an airplane who is constantly on their mobile phone is torturous. OK; there are exceptions, “Honey, we just landed, I’ll call when I am at the hotel” is fine. But reading off columns of numbers on a spread sheet is not only bad manners, it is border-line passenger abuse.

Travelers who relish the thought of no mobile phones on aircraft got a big boost from the FCC’s recent ruling. Consider an airplane without the ear-splitting sound of ringing phones and loud conversations. And with the recent common sense ruling about forbidding emotional support animals this becomes a double blessing. No more worries about boarding and sitting next to a pony while listening to the owner talking to someone on his cell phone about how well his pony handled the turbulence.

Now if someone can find an emotional support pig than can carry on a conversation on the mobile, then I might be fine with that. 

The Federal Communications Commission said on December 3rd it was ending a regulatory proceeding that had sought to lift the ban on using mobile phones while in flight on U.S. airlines and allow those airlines to install onboard equipment that would facilitate in-flight calls.

The action, which ended a proceeding that had begun in 2013, ended years of debate and followed a recommendation by FCC chairman. The “record is insufficient to determine any reasonable solution that would strike an appropriate balance of competing interests,” the agency said in the order terminating the proceeding.

“There is strong opposition to the Commission’s proposals from many commenters in this proceeding, including our nation’s airline pilots and flight attendants,” the FCC noted in the order.

The ban on in-flight mobile phone calls, which dates to 1991, came about because of concerns that the use of mobile phones in flight would interfere with cellular networks on the ground and jam signals.  The FCC said at the start of the decade that this is no longer an issue as a result of the availability of newer mobile communications technology and aircraft technology less subject to interference.

Many other countries allow airlines to offer in-flight calling and companies such as AeroMobile Communications and SitaOnAir offer specialized in-flight equipment that safely manages the calls.


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