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The DOT is looking to ban in-flight cell phone calls

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) doesn’t have a problem with travelers making cell phone calls while riding on an airplane, but apparently the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) does. The DOT is looking to ban in-flight cell phone calls, not due to any kind of safety concerns, but because the department feels that cell phones would be too disruptive to other passengers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the DOT is currently putting together a “notice of proposed rule making” which it will be presenting this December. The proposal with outline the department’s reasoning behind why it believes in-flight calls should be banned and will be open for comments from the public until February of next year.

Last year, the FAA approved the use of electronics such as cell phones and tablets during all phases of air travel. However, the approval didn’t include the ability to make or receive cell phone calls, but the FCC said it didn’t see any safety related reason to prevent travelers from doing so back in December of last year.

Airlines are opposed to the DOT’s proposed ban, despite the fact that they already have their own rules that prohibit calls. Rather than having an across-the-board ban, airlines want the freedom to manage how cell phones are used in-flight by themselves. Airlines are considering using exclusive areas where people would be able to make calls without having to worry about disrupting other passengers.

The DOT, however, doesn’t like this idea and plans to use consumer protection as a lever to force the ban. The department said that it has the authority to push the ban through regardless of airline opposition because it has been tasked with ensuring that airlines offer safe and adequate services to travelers.

Read more about the story at the Wall Street Journal.

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