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USDOT Wants to Help Flyers to Avoid Cell Phone Permitted Flights

USDOT Wants to Help Flyers to Avoid Cell Phone Permitted Flights
Jeff Edwards

The DOT has proposed new rules that will require airlines to warn passengers at the time of booking if phone calls will be allowed on a specific flight.

The use of mobile phones is still banned on nearly all US commercial flights, but the US Department of Transportation (DOT) has already ruled that current regulations do not cover technology that allows passengers to make voice calls through inflight wi-fi services offered on some flights. The agency has signaled that rather than creating a new ban, the decision on whether or not voice calls are allowed will be left up to individual carriers.

The DOT is, however, offering new rules that will potentially help passengers to identify and potentially avoid flights on which passengers are permitted to use mobile phones inflight. The agency asserts that as inflight wi-fi improves and becomes more prevalent, it will tempt more and more passengers to make phone calls inflight. According to the DOT proposal, “allowing voice calls, without providing adequate notice, would be an unfair and deceptive practice.”

“Consumers deserve to have clear and accurate information about whether an airline permits voice calls before they purchase a ticket and board the aircraft,” US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said in a statement announcing the proposed new regulations. “Today’s proposal will ensure that air travelers are not unwillingly exposed to voice calls, as many of them are troubled over the idea of passengers talking on cell phones in flight.”

The proposal came about as a result of the public comment period on a separate proposal to relax prohibitions on mobile phone use in flight. The prospective rule that would require airlines operating under US jurisdiction to warn passengers that they may be purchasing tickets on a mobile phone permitted flight is also open to a 90-day public comment period. The flying public can comment on the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) at www.regulations.gov, referencing docket number DOT-OST-2014-0002.

View Comments (7)

7 Comments

  1. diver858

    December 9, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Nothing wrong with text or email on planes – just say no to voice calls. Imagine the horror of a teenager rambling on and on during a transcontinental flight, disturbing everyone around them.

  2. BJM

    December 9, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    “the decision on whether or not voice calls are allowed will be left up to individual carriers”.

    Once they figure out how to monetize a voice call, EVERY flight will permit voice calls.

  3. dvs7310

    December 9, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    This is so stupid. What is the difference between someone talking on the phone and someone talking to their friend in the next seat? It’s the same crap in Japan where I live, talking on the phone in the train is a grave offence but no one says a word if you speak to other people on the train… makes no sense at all.

  4. kulflyer

    December 10, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Hmm… Just yell “He/She is planning on cheating on you. Just dump his/her now and save your misery!” Probably get banned by the airline but you’d be banned a hero 🙂

  5. Irpworks

    December 10, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    This is all ridiculous. The seats used to have phones on them and I’ve been on many flights with many in use with no problems. Someone on a phone call is no different than talking to a seat mate.

  6. Mr. Breakfast

    December 11, 2016 at 7:16 am

    We knew this day would come. A whole new section on FlyerTalk.

  7. Open Jaw

    December 11, 2016 at 7:48 am

    Ban the phones! I will never understand why people are allowed to use phones on any public transportation. Phones on a plane at 35,000 feet will hell on Earth because a person cannot just get off at the next stop. I predict there will be more fights and chaos in the air.

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