Should voice calls be allowed on flights?

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The federal government wants to know whether you think voice calls should be allowed on airline flights, and the deadline to weigh in is nearing.

Members of the public have until Monday, Feb. 13 to submit comments in a federal docket on whether voice calls should be allowed on airline flights.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is taking comments as part of a December proposal — made under a different presidential administration — to require airlines to notify passengers in advance if calls are allowed on their flights.

Thousands have already submitted comments.

“I have been a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines for 42 years,” according to a public comment submitted by Tarja Anderson. “Please do NOT allow voice calls on commercial aircraft. There’s certainly enough air rage lately without people having to listen to a loud conversation for hours”

Currently, Federal Communications Commission rules ban regular cell phone calls because of the risk of radio frequency interference. But that prohibition doesn’t cover wi-fi-enabled calls.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has said it will not allow cellular calls or Internet-based voice calls on its flights. The airline said its customer research and feedback “tell us that our frequent flyers believe voice calls in the cabin would be a disruption to the travel experience,” and Delta employees are also not in favor of voice calls on-board.

The Association of Flight Attendants union is also opposed to voice calls on flights, saying a move to allow them “threatens aviation security and increases the likelihood of conflict in the skies.”

When issuing the December DOT proposal and invitation for comments, then-U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a written statement: “Consumers deserve to have clear and accurate information about whether an airline permits voice calls before they purchase a ticket and board the aircraft…. [The] 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 agency said it believes allowing voice calls without notice “would be an unfair and deceptive practice.”

To comment, go to http://www.regulations.gov and enter docket number DOT-OST-2014-0002.

MORE:

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