FCC proposes to allow mid-flight phone calls, ruining air travel for everyone
As if shrinking seats, hidden fees, and the fact that you’re trapped inside a metal tube with a bunch of people you don’t know wasn’t bad enough, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a proposal that will make flying even more unbearable than it already is.
The agency is calling together a meeting in December to discuss allowing passengers to make phone calls and use cellular data while in the air. According to the Wall Street Journal, phone use would still be restrictricted during takeoff and landing but anyone on the plane could make a phone call or check Twitter after the plane reaches 10,000 feet.
The proposal comes after the FAA recently cleared passengers to read ebooks, play Pokemon, and tap away at their laptops while in flight. Apparently, the techno-phobic view that airlines once held about cellphone use in the air has all but evaporated, as numerous airlines announced that they were opting in to the new change.
The FCC proposed a similar idea back in 2004, but it faced objection from a number of groups and shut down the proposal three years later, citing a “lack of technical information upon which we may base a decision.” Airlines seem to be split on the idea, with companies like Delta Air Lines telling the Wall Street Journal it’s vehemently opposed to the proposal, and JetBlue Airways stating that it would consider reevaluating its current policy.
The FCC hasn’t made it explicitly public that it’s considering the proposal, but if implemented, it would essentially create chaos in space. I can’t imagine that I would remain sane if someone started yapping away while I was trying to sleep in the midst of a long, arduous international flight. As it is, I can hardly stand all that cross-talk on public transit. Maybe some passengers will welcome the chance to break out their smartphones for a mid-flight phone call; they’re probably the same people who gross out the rest of us by taking off their shoes on the plane.