Despite all the technology which wants to let you use a cell phone on a plane, the Department of Transportation (DoT) doesn’t seem to be impressed. At a meeting of the International Aviation Club last week, DoT counsel Kathryn Thomson said they’d be taking the next step on what could end up as a formal ban on cell phone usage in-flight, attendees said.
The DoT, for their part, responded to formal requests by saying they’re developing a “notice of proposed rulemaking”. That notice is said to be released in December, and would outline their objection to in-flight call activity. It would then be open to commentary until February, when the DoT would make their final judgement.
It seems the issue is with voice calls, not text or other forms of communication. The FCC recently opened up cell phone usage on flights, leaving the adjudication of that program in the hands of airlines. Those airlines would like the same from the DoT.
The DoT seems to think calls are disruptive, and may feel it falls under their jurisdiction to provide a “safe and adequate” means of transportation for us.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of the DoT positioning themselves to ban calls. In December of 2013, Secretary Anthony Foxx said the agency would “begin a process that will look at the possibility of banning these in-flight calls”. that was step one, it seems. Step two is incoming.
Source: The Wall Street Journal