Forget airplane mode: FCC may allow cell phone use during flights in the US

The Federal Communications Commission is looking into allowing passengers to use their cellphones on aircraft in the US, a change to a longstanding rule that has perhaps brought passengers peace, serenity and a few hours without the phone to their ear.

“Today, we circulated a proposal to expand consumer access and choice for in-flight mobile broadband," Tom Wheeler, FCC chairman, said in a statement. "Modern technologies can deliver mobile services in the air safely and reliably, and the time is right to review our outdated and restrictive rules."

Cell phone use would still be restricted to takeoff and landing, according to The Wall Street Journal. Once a flight reaches 10,000ft passengers would be free to pull out their mobile phones and make calls. If the new regulation was approved, it would still be up to specific airlines to decide whether to install phone equipment on their planes.

The possible change to the mobile phone rule follows the Federal Aviation Administration this month ruling out restrictions on electronic use during take-off and landing on aircraft.

Will fliers regret the policy change? Who really wants to hear the person next to them bicker on the phone throughout the whole flight?

The FAA said recently that mobile phone use posed no safety threat to aircraft, the reason given for ruling it out in 1991.

Wheeler said: "I look forward to working closely with my colleagues, the FAA, and the airline industry on this review of new mobile opportunities for consumers,” 



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