Since 1991, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has upheld a ban on in-flight cellphone calls due to concerns that wireless signals would interfere with crucial plane communications. In October of last year, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) found that calls cause no safety issues on planes. The FCC even considered lifting the 23-year-old ban. However, lobbyists are asking the FCC to keep the ban intact.
The Association of Flight Attendants and the Global Business Trade Association (GBTA), two of the groups of lobbyists, are asking the FCC to reconsider the possible change, reports InformationWeek. While the groups do not question the technological feasibility of making in-flight cellphone calls, they are mostly against the idea of passengers talking on their phones or listening to others doing so during flight.
More importantly, it seems, the groups are concerned about the possible exploitation by terrorists. “There’s a security aspect to it,” said GBTA director of public policy Shane Downey. Interestingly, when asked whether terrorists could just use the in-flight Wi-Fi service provided by airlines, Downey called the technology unreliable.
These groups aren’t alone, as the Department of Transportation will reportedly unveil its “notice of proposed rulemaking” that lists the agency’s objections to making and receiving in-flight cellphone calls later this year. Meanwhile, some airlines have already prohibited in-flight cellphone calls. Delta banned cellular and Internet-based (VoIP) in-flight calls, with JetBlue enforcing its own VoIP ban.