Update: friends and commentators (including Seth, Joe and Eric) have spoken, and I thank them. They have pointed out that, if there is no longer a safety reason to keep a government ban on in-flight cell phone calls, then the government rule should be rescinded. I agree. However, it is up to the airlines to determine whether calling should be allowed and to what extent.
I knew that the FCC was conducting initial hearings today concerning whether to lift the ban on in-flight cell phone calls. Well, I guess it went well because I just received an email from CNN, stating:
The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 today to consider lifting its ban on in-flight cell phone use.
The FCC has banned in-flight calls for technical reasons. But new technology has made that ban obsolete, the commission says, and there’s no reason to continue it.
So, I guess the topic is open to discussion, or at least consideration.
I am not knowledgable about the technical aspects of allowing phone calls or not allowing phone calls in-flight, and I do not pretend to have such knowledge.
So, what’s my gripe? I’m constantly bombarded by people speaking on their mobile phones. I actually like the fact that people don’t talk on the phone in-flight. My opposition to lifting the ban is about my privacy and my desire not to be inundated with others phone calls. I’ve often said that they used to have phone booths so people could speak privately on phone calls, and now they should bring back phone booths, so we don’t have to hear others phone conversations.
How can the interest of the person not on the phone – the interest to a quiet and peaceful flight without unnecessary disturbances – be protected? Limit phone calls to a set time during the flights, or to a certain limit of time per call? What if the plane is going to be late or diverted? Should calls be allowed then? And at what price? Is there a happy medium? How successful have you been at cordially telling people they are speaking to loudly on their phone calls?
What’s your vote? Calls or no calls, or something in between?