FCC to Allow Cellphone Use on Flights? – Why It’s the Worst Idea Ever

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently lifted the universally-loathed ban on electronics during take-off and landing. Finally the need to power down devices at the beginning and end of flights is ending. Now another agency is looking into removing the ban on cellphone use during flights altogether. This is a terrible idea.

The Wall Street Journal reported on changes that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering. Mobile phone use would still be restricted during take-off and landing but the proposal would lift the FCC ban on calls and cellular data use by passengers once a flight reaches 10,000 feet.

Any phone with an airplane mode has been kosher for years (and recently the new FAA regs allow you to keep them on for the whole flight). This new move from the FCC would let folks use their phones in the air.

Passengers could use mobile data and text messaging. But (and this is a but bigger than Kim Kardashian’s) they could also make calls.

Have you ever taken public transit? Be it bus, rail, ferry etc, there’s one universal annoyance that’s common to them all. There’s always somebody who decides it’s the perfect time to chat on their phone. I don’t mean a brief call to say “I’ll be there in 15 minutes.” or, “What’s the name of the restaurant again?” I mean, those folks should have texted like civilized people, but I won’t begrudge them a quick call.

The people who, frankly, should lose their public transit privileges are those who decide a crowded bus full of other people is the perfect place to carry on a long, loud, drawn-out conversation.

It’s hard to imagine what goes on in the feeble mind of a phone-talker, but often it seems like they’re just bored. Giving no thought whatsoever to their fellow passengers, they’re just calling people to pass the time. You know what takes a long time? Air travel.

Now imagine a 6 hour flight, Los Angeles to New York city

Ok, now imagine you’re sitting next to a phone-talker.

It’s a good thing that US Marshals are on planes, because if the cellphone ban is lifted there’s going to be pandemonium and they might be called on to prevent a Mile High Murder. Sure, I’m being a little flip. But imagine listening to someone’s intensely mundane one-sided convo for the duration of a long flight and try to pretend it wouldn’t drive you nuts. Then again, I suppose that’s what headphone are for.

As much as flying sucks, it’s nice that an airplane remains one of the very few remaining public spaces where it’s not ok to chat away on your phone. Please, for the love of all that is good, let’s keep it that way! Now about those crying babies…

[Via: Wall Street Journal]

  • oomfoofoo

    It’s probably nothing to worry about. I have “accidentally” left my phone on during flight and the signal is spotty at best. Data was basically useless and I’m pretty sure if I tried voice it would’ve been useless as well. Perhaps at lower altitudes and over a big city it would work but that really doesn’t happen on a typical flight. You’re always over mostly a stretch of “nothing”.

  • PeterSteinbeck

    Letting passengers use mobile phones will make the first and business class that much attractive. The piece in the sky will come with a price tag.

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