FCC chairman decides against allowing cellphone calls on flights
What's worse than sitting next to someone who is talking loudly on their phone? Doing so for hours while aboard an airplane, locked into your tiny seat with no way of escaping your inconsiderate tormentor—that's what. Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai certainly sees it that way, and he has submitted a statement today that essentially terminates his agency's proposed lifting of the in-flight call ban.
The chairman argues in his statement that he does not believe ending the ban is "in the public interest." Rather, keeping it in place will "be a victory for Americans ... who, like [him], value a moment of quiet at 30,000 feet."
Pai's decision to put an end to the discussion comes as no surprise. The proposal, submitted by former FCC head Tom Wheeler, has been the subject of much debate among airlines and passengers. A 2013 study showed that the American public was split virtually down the middle regarding whether to allow calls to be made during flights; frequent fliers were largely against it. The vast majority of airlines announced then their unwillingness to comply with any efforts to permit calls. Those sentiments, along with the current FCC leader's policies on various issues concerning telecommunications, were enough to seal the fate of in-flight calling for good.