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.
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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.