In another long awaited move for business and recreational travelers alike, the FCC has announced that they are reviewing the data pertaining to make phone calls while in flight and are open to the idea of allowing phone use if it is deemed safe. This proposal from the FCC was recently published and would potentially include both voice and data usage if accepted. However, this doesn’t mean that people will get to gab away at their leisure and annoy the passengers around them; potentially.While the FCC is in charge of the airlines themselves, the airlines will be able to determine the rules around the use of phones while in flight. This means that even if the FCC approves the use of phones in flight, specific airlines can opt out or put specific restrictions on their use. Furthermore, the airlines would be required to install special equipment if they are interested in this new ability because you simply can’t access the towers from 30,000 feet high or in the middle of the ocean. Without equipment that relays the signals to the cell towers, passengers wouldn’t be able to use their phones if the tried. This equipment will also take a little while to implement if the proposal passes, so don’t expect to see the change overnight.
While there are some concerns about the safety of using cell phones during a flight among the general public, you can gain some peace of mind by knowing that there are already wireless relay devices in use on planes in other countries. Though the concept is new in the United States, it is actually quite well tested and found to be harmless. So, in the end, the question is really about the social aspects and privacy concerns more than safety. With a slight majority of adults in favor of keeping the ban in place, each airline will need to check their conscience if the FCC ultimately approves the measure to determine if it is right for their passengers and their brand.