The United States Department of Transportation is considering a new rule that would ban all in-flight cellular calls, the Wall Street Journal reported today. While some cell phone uses, such as social media apps and other data-dependent software, was recently declared permissible by the Federal Aviation Administration, voice calls are still up for debate, with the DOT arguing a phone call could be disruptive to other passengers.

In December the department will issue a proposition that will include a cellular call ban, though airlines are insisting the decision of whether not to allow calls should be theirs rather than the government’s. However, many airlines have reportedly said that even if it was their call, they would not allow calls on their flights. Some ideas to avoid the disruption have been floated by government officials, such as phone booths on planes where passengers would be free to make calls.

Because of the reasoning behind the potential decision, flyers wouldn’t necessarily be able to lean on the technical difference between VOIP and cellular phone calls to get around the restriction, either.

We’ll know more about the Department of Transportation’s plans when it officially proposes the change later this year.

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18 Responses to “U.S. Department of Transportation considering ban on cell phone calls during flights”

  1. Does that mean that the DOT will remove the telephone handsets on the backs of many airplane seats? Or is it only bothering others if the airlines aren’t collecting huge fees for making the calls?

    David R


  2. mpias3785 says:

    I could live with a phone booth, but jabbering passengers on an already loud plane would be torture.


  3. Personally, an airplane environment is similar to a movie theater environment, I really don’t wanna hear your constant yapping, and I do believe people tend to be more discreet when speaking in person than on the phone.


    • Which is why having a “phone booth” or just make your call in the bathroom solves the problem.
      Next. Why is government so inefficient? It took me two seconds to figure that out.


      • herb02135go says:

        You are not required to follow laws that the government must follow. Or do you prefer a dictatorship?


      • kevicosuave says:

        Great, so now that one lavatory is going to be occupied the entire flight by someone wanting to make a phone call.


      • herb02135go says:

        There is no way the airlines will give up a money-making seat to accommodate cell phone talkers.

        My guess is the public will complain but that’s it. There isn’t much of a choice. Beside, when was the last time flying was pleasant?


  4. ovumcerebrum says:

    Had airline cell calls been banned in 2001, the plane targeting Washington DC on 9/11 would have hit its target rather than be taken away from hijackers and crashed into a Pennsylvania field. The heroic passengers were told via phone calls that the plane they were on was going to be used in a suicide mission.


  5. randomkhaos says:

    there’s always the ostentatious cell phone user who wants every one within shouting distance to hear how important his call is. And there’s little possibility of escaping being impressed by moving far enough away.


  6. Can’t you give it a rest during the flight.