Public says no to proposed in-flight phone calls

The Dallas Morning NewsMarch 21, 2014 

When the U.S. Department of Transportation asked travelers to comment on whether they favored cellphone calls on airplanes, the agency got an earful.

The DOT has received more than 1,600 comments so far, and almost all say “No way!”

“When crammed in a tin can with 200 other people, I don’t want conversations going with 200 more. Air travel is degrading enough without having to bear with another annoyance,” one commenter told the government. Said another: “I take it that you have heard of road rage. If cellphones are allowed on airline flights it will be much more of a problem. I for one, if someone anywhere near me was babbling away, would most likely take the phone away and crush it.”

One exception was a commenter who cited a recent flight that was diverted to another airport. An Alzheimer’s patient aboard would have benefited if she could have contacted her family, the commenter said. “A cell call would have saved this poor lady a lot of stress and her family a lot of concern.”

By a 3-2 vote, the FCC in December proposed a rule to allow cellphone use on airplanes, with the understanding that it was up to each airline to decide whether to permit its passengers to do so.

In February, the DOT followed up the FCC action by proposing a ban on in-flight phone calls.

While many responses said it would be OK to allow texting, most said voice calls would introduce more unpleasantness.

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