Beacon Transcript – United States flight authorities are reportedly reconsidering current in-flight voice calls rules as more air companies are starting to offer wireless connections.
The no-call whilst up in the air is a decades-old custom. But the advancements in both the telecommunications and Internet areas may be changing this rule.
As such, the Unites States Department of Transportation or DOT is reportedly reconsidering some of the in-flight rules and regulations.
The former, well-known no phone call rule is beginning to be bent. Some airline carriers operating in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia are allowing voice communications.
In the United States, several airline companies have started allowing Wi-Fi-based calls. As such, DOT has started to seriously consider either a rule change or an addition.
With more companies offering in-flight Wi-Fi connections, the new flight accessibility feature can come as both an advantage and a nuisance.
It goes without saying that airplanes are tight spaces. Even during a regular flight, ignoring the long duration ones, passengers have to inhabit the same somewhat tight space. The addition of phone calls could come to mean an added cause of annoyance for some flyers.
As such, the DOT is seriously considering imposing a new rule on airlines. The regulations would force airlines to inform their prospective passengers about their in-flight customs.
This means that airlines will have to specifically notify passengers if they allow voice calls during flight, or not.
The new rule would benefit both airline and passengers. Airlines could, as such, placate the customers that may have been disturbed by the voice calls. Passengers, for their part, would know in advance if in-fligh voice calls will be allowed.
Another variant is also available, though it may be less popular. According to the DOT, the authority could also ban all types of in-flight calls.
As such, not even Wi-Fi voice calls would be allowed and flying would return to its previous no-calls habits.
The DOT has advanced a notice on the matter of in-flight voice calls. With the proposal targeting both domestic and international flights, the authority is now waiting for comments.
With the notice having been published in the Federal Registration, a 60 days period will be made available so as to comment on the matter.
One of the DOT’s reasons for advancing the proposal is the Wi-Fi-based calls unclear status. As the Federal Communications Commission bans voice calls, it does not mention such alternative method calls.
The Communications Commission currently bans the utilization of mobile device whilst onboard an aircraft on certain, specific radio frequencies.
With the ban including voice calls, Wi-Fi networks or other similar means have yet to be mentioned in the regulation.
According to the DOT, a number of U.S. air carriers already have in-flight Wi-Fi call capabilities. As such, the respective passengers could receive or make such calls. DOT states that it is now aware if the respective airlines actually permit such practices.
DOT declared that airline Wi-Fi providers are not typically offering such voice services.
Anthony Foxx, the Secretary of Transportation, released a statement on the matter on Thursday. According to him, airline passengers deserve to know their in-flight conditions.
As such, they should be notified if they can make or are to be subjected to voice calls before boarding the plane.
This is not the first time the DOT has advanced an in-flight calls rule change. Back in 2014, the authority released an ANPRM or Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
The notice regarded the use of such wireless supporting device during flight so as to make voice calls. At the time, the proposal was rejected by 96 percent of the commenters.
With the commenters including both passengers and cabin crew and staff, voice calls were deemed disruptive in the confined space.
As such, the faith of the current in-flight notice remains to be determined. The DOT did make a clarification to the proposal.
An advanced passenger notice about in-flight voice calls will only apply to larger aircraft. More exactly, U.S. or foreign air carriers with a higher than 60 seats plane capacity.
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