It’s only been a few weeks since the ban on mobile devices during take-off and landing was finally lifted, but the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is already pushing for the next big change in airline policy: the ability to make and receive phone calls during flights.
Previously, the FCC has imposed a ban on the use of phones and other cellular devices both for making calls and surfing the internet during flights. Despite their current stance, the agency is currently proposing a change to the rules amongst its commissioners, which should be decided upon during its December meeting.
Only a few weeks ago, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) made it possible for passengers to use mobile devices during flights so long as they were set to “airplane mode” and therefore cut off from cellular transmissions. However, if this ruling by the FCC passes, it would become acceptable for passengers to use cellular services such as voice calls and text messaging once the plane reaches a height of 10,000 feet.
If the ruling does pass, the FCC will not be able to enforce airlines to allow cell phone use on planes, and it may still be the case that airlines will choose to impose restrictions on phone use during flights. These restrictions will have more to do with consideration for other passengers in close proximity than they will with previous safety concerns.