Saturday December 10, 2016

U.S. Flight Regulators Consider Whether To Allow Or Bar In-Flight Wi-Fi Calls

Federal regulators are trying to decide whether to allow or ban Wi-Fi calls on flights. Why stop there? Let’s also get rid of babies, snorers, tall people, etc.

The Transportation Department first started taking public comment on the overall issue of in-flight phone calls two years ago, and many of the comments were negative. But Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi-based calling, have become ubiquitous under today's technology. So federal regulators are taking a proactive position and looking to clarify onboard phone-calling rules that weren't historically part of the equation: a calling ban was originally based on fears that cell-based calls could interfere with a plane's flight instruments. What's more, airlines in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East are now offering fliers voice communication services. Some US airlines are offering phone service to premium customers, too. In response, the Transportation Department is suggesting that, at a minimum, consumers have a right to know if Wi-Fi calling would be allowed on a passenger's particular flight.