Goodness Gracious — Please Tell Us The FCC Isn’t Going To Allow Cellphone Calls On Planes

Imagine all these people talking on phones. (frankieleon)

Imagine all these people talking on phones. (frankieleon)

It hasn’t even been a month since the Federal Aviation Administration said it would finally let airline passengers use devices like tablets and phones from gate to gate, but now another federal agency is considering letting loose the hounds of Hades: The Federal Communications Commission is considering allowing travelers to make phone calls in midair.

Yes, that means the lady with the piercing voice in row 17 could be yakking it up for all to hear while the man with the very distinct baritone might be grumbling throughout the flight and your ears will be assaulted at potentially any time. Assaulted, I say!

Moving on, the FCC says it’s time to get hip with the times, and “to review our outdated and restrictive rules,” reports the Associated Press’ travel guru Scott Mayerowitz.

I’m not alone in my grumbling, especially since it’s unclear if there could be some kind of “quiet section” of the plane where passengers wouldn’t be allowed to yap for hours on end.

“The only way I’d be in favor of this is if the FCC mandated that all those who want to use their cellphones must sit next to families with screaming children,” one frequent flier tells the AP. I like that idea.

Those who’ve ever had the bad luck to sit near Mr. or Ms. I’m The Center Of The Universe So You All Have To Hear My Conversation are also worried.

“There are simply far too many people who consider themselves too important to stop talking as a courtesy to other passengers, especially when, given airplane background noise, they’ll probably have to talk louder than usual,” said another passenger, who flies nearly 200,000 miles a year.

And another traveler had a concern we wouldn’t have thought of on our won — are bathrooms going to become a refuge for those seeking privacy?

“Are they going to become the telephone booths for those who want to talk on the phone in private?” he said.

Of course, yes, it’d be nice to be able to check in with your family or work or whatever — but if you can use email during the flight, why not just do that? It’s so much quieter.

There’s hope though for us seeking quietude: Thus far, both American and United Airlines said they’ll see what the FCC ultimately decides before they weigh in on either side, while Delta Air Lines has said passenger feedback for years has shown “overwhelming” support for a ban. JetBlue also seems to side on with silence, as does Southwest Airlines… for now.

“If everyone starts doing it and it becomes culturally acceptable, we’d have to consider it,” said a Southwest spokesman. “But no one thinks it’s a good idea.”

You know how I feel. But how about you?

Loud cellphone talkers next bane of air travelers? [Associated Press]

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