The DOT Wants To Know: Should Cell Phone Calls Be Allowed On Planes?

Back in December when the Federal Communications Commission announced it would start investigating whether or not it’s a good idea to lift the ban on cell phone calls on planes — from a technological point of view — the Department of Transportation was all, “Hold on, we’re going to look into this too.” The DOT is now turning to the public to hear your thoughts.

Anyone who wants to read and chime in on the 22-page proposal can head to the DOT’s official commenting system set up for just that purpose by clicking here.

“While the department does not oppose the use of cellphones and other mobile devices for mobile wireless data services, such as sending and receiving text messages and e-mail, there is concern that the pervasiveness of in-flight voice calls could create an oppressive environment for passengers, especially on long-haul flights,” the department said.

A full 76% of our readers who took a poll in December asking the same question the DOT is now throwing up for discussion were against the idea. Again, this will only be an issue if the FCC first lifts the ban after investigating whether or not it could interfere with wireless networks on the ground.

If the FCC does decide to lift the 1991 ban, then the DOT could swoop in with its own regulation against cell phone use or potentially set up other roadblocks.

It’s unclear when everything will be sorted out, but the FCC is collecting comments through March 17, while the DOT will hear you out until March 22.

Thus far there are more than 1,200 comments to the FCC, most of which are against the idea of their neighbors yakking away like there’s no one else on the plane or possibly, the world. You can click here and scroll down to “13-301 Expanding Access to Mobile Services Onboard” to comment on the FCC’s proposal.