WSJ: FCC may allow cellular use during flights

Last month, the FAA lifted its restrictions on the use of electronics during takeoff and landing for commercial airliners. Delta has already applied the new rules, and other airlines will soon follow. However, one limitation remains in effect: you still can't use your cellular connection during the flight, be it for voice calls, texts, or data.

Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, the FCC is looking to lift that restriction, as well:

While cellphone use would still be restricted during takeoff and landing, the proposal would lift an FCC ban on airborne calls and cellular-data use by passengers once a flight reaches 10,000 feet.

That would remove a regulatory hurdle to in-flight calls, but it would be up to the airlines themselves whether to allow them. Airlines have said they would approach the matter cautiously because of strong objections from their customers. The carriers also would have to install equipment on their planes to communicate with cellphone towers on the ground.

I took a Delta flight to AMD's APU13 conference last week, and I was pretty thrilled about getting to listen to music on my iPhone during takeoff. Being allowed to text and to bypass the $2-for-a-half-hour in-flight Wi-Fi would have been even better. That said, I don't know if I'd have been so overjoyed if my neighbor had spent half the flight talking on the phone. Hmm.

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