Phones on Planes Update: Europe Airlines OK'd for Calls but Will it Happen?

As the BBC reports, the European Aviation Safety Agency (like the FAA in the U.S.) says mobile phones can be left switched on during all phases of flight which clears the way for phone calls on flights. But don’t punch in that contact name just yet.

Forget the calls for now, let’s just find a cheap flight

No Calls Immediately

The European aviation agency says now it’s up to the airlines – which “still have to go through an assessment process, ensuring aircraft systems are not affected by the signals from portable electronic devices before establishing their own rules for their operation.” But there may be an even bigger barrier.

Passengers: Quiet, Please

According to polls, European passengers don’t like the idea of everyone on a plane yakking away on phones. Which is precisely the situation in the U.S. While people do appreciate the opportunity to watch movies, surf the web, send and receive emails and texts, most American travelers say they don’t like the idea of calls (or at least they say they don’t).

Fear of Fights

While the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is open to calls on planes, many in Congress are not. In a rare show of unity, 75 representatives got together long enough to sign a letter to the FCC which boiled down to ‘no phones on planes’. The politicos had a novel and sensible argument: If planes can be diverted due to fights over reclining seats (and this has happened), imagine the result of a napping passenger seated beside a mid-air chatterbox.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

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Published: September 30, 2014