Skip to Content

Please Don’t Let Me Make Calls on the Plane

FCC puts onus on airlines as it proposes lifting phone ban.
November 22, 2013

Today the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, having raised the idea of permitting cellular voice and text communications in airplanes (and hearing a public outcry) basically said: “Who, us?” Roger Sherman, acting chief of the FCC’s wireless telecommunications bureau, posted a blog saying that if the FCC adopts the rule, it’s really up to the airlines on whether to actually allow passengers to pass the time making voice calls with their personal phones.

But that’s like state lawmakers in Massachusetts saying its really up to the cities or towns whether to allow casinos; all they’re doing is legalizing gambling.

The FCC calls the airline ban “an outdated rule on our books that has been overtaken by advances in technology.” True. But we can already email, and that’s an appropriate way to communicate from one the last quiet spaces: airplanes. I don’t want casinos in my state, and I don’t want the guy next to me yakking all the way to LAX. And once one airline lets it happen, others will feel pressured to follow suit.

The rule will be considered on Dec. 12. Consumers can comment by calling 1-888-225-5322.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Workers disinfect the street outside Shijiazhuang Railway Station
Workers disinfect the street outside Shijiazhuang Railway Station

Why China is still obsessed with disinfecting everything

Most public health bodies dealing with covid have long since moved on from the idea of surface transmission. China’s didn’t—and that helps it control the narrative about the disease’s origins and danger.

individual aging affects covid outcomes concept
individual aging affects covid outcomes concept

Anti-aging drugs are being tested as a way to treat covid

Drugs that rejuvenate our immune systems and make us biologically younger could help protect us from the disease’s worst effects.

Europe's AI Act concept
Europe's AI Act concept

A quick guide to the most important AI law you’ve never heard of

The European Union is planning new legislation aimed at curbing the worst harms associated with artificial intelligence.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.