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Phones on planes may be allowed after all

American authorities are reconsidering the ban on using mobile phones on planes.

The US FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is to take another look at proposals to ban the use of mobile phones on flights. At a meeting on Thursday, the FCC decided to invite public input on whether the current ban on in-flight chat should be lifted. The public will be able to have their say on the topic for the next month. Cue lots of comments along the lines of “Hello? Hello” I’m on the PLANE!”.

Americans could soon be allowed to use their mobile phones on planes.

The lifting of the 22-year-old ban on mobile phone use on flights is being proposed because there is no longer a danger of the cellular signals interfering with cellular equipment used to communicate with the plane from the ground. FCC chairman Thomas Wheeler said “there is a need to recognise that there is a new technology. This is a technical rule. It is a rule about technology. It is not a rule of usage. “

Wheeler went on to say that he has contacted airline bosses in the US to let them know that were the ban on mobile calls lifted, they would be under no obligation to allow calls on their planes. While some people would welcome the convenience of being able to make calls from 35,000 feet, other people are sure to feel that other people’s constant yapping is intrusive and not conducive to staving off jetlag with some much-needed shut-eye. In fact we can already envisage the marketing campaigns by airlines proclaiming that as well as fully reclining beds you’ll be able to enjoy the blissful sound of silence on their flights, unlike certain rival airlines they can’t mention. 

Even if the FCC decides there’s no longer a technical reason to block in-flight calls, transport officials may continue to oppose mobile phone use on planes.  A BBC report states that the US Department of Transportation is considering its own ban and is “inclined to institute its own ban, under its authority to protect aviation consumers “. 

What do you think? Should passengers be allowed to use mobiles on planes or should aircraft be a no chat zone? 

-Rosemary Hattersley

Image: Flickr

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