Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×
Cellphones Communications Government Network Transportation Technology

FCC Kills Plan To Allow Mobile Phone Conversations On Flights (pcworld.com) 99

An anonymous reader quotes a report from PCWorld: On Monday, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission killed a plan to allow mobile phone calls during commercial airline flights. Since 2013, the FCC and the Federal Aviation Administration have considered allowing airline passengers to talk on the phones during flights, although the FAA also proposed rules requiring airlines to give passengers notice if they planned to allow phone calls. The plan to allow mobile phone calls on flights drew sharp objections from some passengers and flight attendants who had visions of dozens of passengers trying to talk over each other for entire flights. But FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Monday killed his agency's 2013 proceeding that sought to relax rules governing the use of mobile phones on airplanes. Under the FCC proposal, airlines would have decided if they allowed mobile phone conversations during flights.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

FCC Kills Plan To Allow Mobile Phone Conversations On Flights

Comments Filter:
  • Pretty sure people have always talked on planes. I'd like it if they'd ban that but banning one and not the other seems a little silly.
    • by OhPlz ( 168413 ) on Monday April 10, 2017 @05:41PM (#54210169)

      People don't tend to yell at each other when they're sitting side-by-side, but a lot of people feel the need to speak at max-volume when they're on a phone.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        True, but there's also the fact that it's far more distracting listening to half a conversation; your brain tries to fill in the blanks, and it's very hard to tune out like you can a normal conversation.

      • People don't tend to yell at each other when they're sitting side-by-side, but a lot of people feel the need to speak at max-volume when they're on a phone.

        My guess is that if the typical side-by-side conversation happened next to a white noise generator with a monkey randomly clapping its hands over the listener's ears, those conversations would tend toward max volume as well.

    • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Monday April 10, 2017 @05:43PM (#54210177) Homepage
      When two people talk on a plane, they are mutually consenting. (Of course, other people may be annoyed. But at least you hear two sides of a conversation.)

      With someone talking on the phone, every person nearby gets to be annoyed.

      Imagine the annoyance of a one sided conversation. You can't even understand what the other person might be saying.


      Ring ring

      Hello?

      No! I'm not driving.

      Well, yes I am in the car. But I'm stuck in traffic. Thus not driving. The car is in park right now.

      No, I left the car seats at home.

      Calm down, I don't need them. I don't have the kids with me.

      No! No. Of course, I did not leave the kids alone. I left them safely with the dog.

      Yes, I know it's my weekend.

      They'll be alright. They're very mature for their age. The oldest is almost 7.

      I just needed a break. That's all.

      No. Don't worry. I am not going to the strip club. Not while this traffic is stuck.

      You don't seem to understand. How can I be drinking and driving when I'm stuck in traffic, car in park, not driving? I know better than to drink and drive at the same time.

      No, I'm not with my drinking buddies.

      What do you mean "then where are they"? I swear, they are not in the car!

      Look, they jumped out of the car because there is a liquor store on this block. And traffic isn't moving. I'm not with them because they haven't returned yet with more drinks for us. And we're taking turns driving, so it's okay.

      Chill out. Nobody is drinking when it is their turn to drive.

      What are you so upset about? I can't understand what you are saying.
      • When two people talk on a plane, they are mutually consenting. (Of course, other people may be annoyed. But at least you hear two sides of a conversation.)

        So basically the complaint is that you don't get to eavesdrop on both sides of the convo? Seriously?

        • I'd rather not even hear one side of it. Really.

          But if some inconsiderate jerk is going to force me to listen to one side, then I should get to hear both sides. :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ban all calls on buses and trains.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So, be like Japan?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Thank. F*cking. God.

  • by dyslexicbunny ( 940925 ) on Monday April 10, 2017 @06:05PM (#54210283)

    If people were polite and considerate of each other, this would easily be something that should be allowed.

    Unfortunately, we live in reality where people tend not to be overly considerate of others around them while on their phones. Add in the cramped quarters of an aircraft on top of the stressors various folks have related to travel and I think you'll see more aircraft incidents that we would like. Wifi with email should be sufficient for most communication needs.

  • by RightSaidFred99 ( 874576 ) on Monday April 10, 2017 @06:07PM (#54210293)

    As far as I knew nobody was going to force airlines to allow people to talk on their phones. So this would be allowing the airlines to make the decision, which puts it where it should be - the business side of the equation.

    If some airlines, say more business oriented or in first class only, etc.. want to allow it then they should be able to.

    The FCC and FAA should be deciding on the safety of using phones, not how annoying they are to some people.

  • If only Chinese airlines would allow smartphones to be used in airplane mode. But no... you can have a laptop, tablet, all manner of electronic widgets but not a phone. I discovered this the hard way showing up to a 12 hour Hainan Airlines flight to Beijing with nothing but a Note 4 and a few spare batteries.

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      I discovered this the hard way showing up to a 12 hour Hainan Airlines flight to Beijing with nothing but a Note 4 and a few spare batteries.

      At least, it wasn't a Note 7.

  • TSA soldiers will be cutting out the offender's tongues at the behest of United management?

  • None of this bothers me. The second I get on the jet and sit down, I push foam ear plugs in, and take a nap. The baby next to me does not bother me.

    • by Striek ( 1811980 )

      None of this bothers me. The second I get on the jet and sit down, I push foam ear plugs in, and take a nap. The baby next to me does not bother me.

      *looks at parent's signature and sees why

  • What??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Monday April 10, 2017 @06:34PM (#54210475) Homepage Journal

    Why is the FCC, which is responsible for regulation of the use of the radio spectrum, considering social aspects when making decisions regarding the technical feasibility of using cell phones on planes? The only factor should be whether or not the use of these devices interferes with the avionics of the aircraft, which we know is not an issue (although the airlines always threw that nebulous excuse out there in the past). I once worked in a hospital that wouldn't let the doctors install a WiFi access point in their private lounge (back when WiFi first came on the scene) because "it would probably interfere with the telemetry of the medical equipment". Both are red herrings and using technical aspects as an excuse to cover for other reasons (unreasonable fear of culpability, protecting monopolistic practices, etc).

    My point is that the FCC should not be in a *conversation* with the airlines regarding what they may or may not prefer when the FCC makes *technical* decisions regarding the use of radio devices.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Ah, the hospitals where they use technical excuses to forbid mobile usage. And that while the surgeons are sending each others SMS du ring the operation. Yes, that happens.

      And thus we hear (or thing to hear) from doctors that there is dangerous radiation coming from cellphones.

  • by crow ( 16139 ) on Monday April 10, 2017 @06:54PM (#54210575) Homepage Journal

    So they're not enabling cellular service, but you can usually pay their extortion price for WiFi and then make all the VoIP calls you want. If you use Google Voice, it's just like any other call. You can also use Signal, Skype, or whatever.

    But for the other 95% who aren't clueful with the technology, it keeps them quiet. In time that might change. I wouldn't be surprised if in a few years, most people only use data on their devices, regardless of whether they're making a call, sending a text, or browsing a web site.

    • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) *

      So they're not enabling cellular service, but you can usually pay their extortion price for WiFi and then make all the VoIP calls you want.

      Not if they block VoIP, which they usually do. They also usually block video streaming and other high-bandwidth services. You might sneak through with some obscure service nobody's heard of, but forget about using anything remotely popular like Google Voice or Skype.

      • by crow ( 16139 )

        I'll have to check when flying if they list what they block before you pay. I would think they would need to, but probably not.

        The most likely candidate to work would be Signal, but I think that only handles calls between people using that app. It's all encrypted, so unless they block the app entirely, it should be good.

        Unless they block ssh, you could use any VoIP with a tunnel, but that's not something the common person is going to be able to set up.

  • Here I thought they where just removing the most obvious way of remote triggering IED's on aircraft from a thousand miles away on a payphone.... Silly me, somebody wants to make this into an inconvenience of having to wait to make a call or (horrors of horrors) listen to somebody make a call in the seat next to you.

    Has nobody been thinking of the security implications of allowing the delivery of cell calls on an aircraft? Has nobody thought about how IEDs have been triggered in the past? Ah, but the TSA ke

  • I get the reasons why they would want to prohibit people from having loud, obnoxious conversations for everyone to hear... but that should be an airline policy issue. If it is technically safe, then it should be allowed by the FCC. I have no idea if you could get a data connection, but it would be nice to not be locked into the airline's offerings.

  • Mark my words, in 50 years humans won't fly together anymore. Everyone will have their own Personal Drone Craft. Humans are such disgusting creatures that we can't even tolerate ourselves for a couple hours.
  • I think this is for the best. I am old enough to remember a time before cellphones, so take this for my version of "get off my lawn". There is a certain species of person who has a need to carry out a phone conversation while on public transportation. I don't expect dead quiet on a train, but listening to someone shout random phrases into a their phone from the time they get on the train till the time they get off 40 minutes later pushes the boundaries of courtesy a little too far. I'm afraid that if someone sat down next to me and talked all the way from Seattle to Atlanta I might snap. I'm imaging something like Bill Duke in Predator - "bleed ya real quiet, leave ya there." I would like to get through my days without having to leave a seatmate behind with a little plastic knife in his spleen.

    • I'm afraid that if someone sat down next to me and talked all the way from Seattle to Atlanta I might snap.

      That may say more about you, and your opinion of other people than this situation itself. Much of the rest of the world doesn't have a problem with the fact that phone calls are allowed on planes. It hasn't resulted in people lynching each other, and in general, it's a frigging plane. Get yourself some noise cancelling headphones. It's worth far more than some "economy plus" upgrade.

      • I'm afraid that if someone sat down next to me and talked all the way from Seattle to Atlanta I might snap.

        That may say more about you, and your opinion of other people than this situation itself. Much of the rest of the world doesn't have a problem with the fact that phone calls are allowed on planes...

        If "much of the rest of the world" didn't have a problem with phone calls on planes, then we wouldn't be sitting here having a discussion about the plan being shot down to allow phone calls on planes. There's a valid reason that we don't support phone calls on planes today; the reality is most people don't fucking want it.

        There are enough issues going on with herding humans like cattle at 35,000 feet. To your obvious dismay, the opinion of the OP is a hell of a lot more common than you think.

        • If "much of the rest of the world" didn't have a problem with phone calls on planes, then we wouldn't be sitting here having a discussion

          You seem to forget how very much Slashdot vocalists focus on local US based issues. Americans on this board in general seem to think that they are the greatest country on earth but somehow incapable of handling what the rest of the world already has.

          There are enough issues going on with herding humans like cattle at 35,000 feet.

          And there you have it. The subtle bias you have against flying likely attributed to the fact that when we hear customer disaster stories it's typically United or when we hear about security disaster stories it's typically about the TSA. Flying is not herding cat

  • This is related to something I call Raging Arsehole Syndrome which is a very peculiar diagnosis.

    Firstly raging arsehole syndrome is what seemingly prevents people in the USA from doing something that everyone else has no problem with.
    - Talk about going to the cinema? Nah, the raging arseholes ruin it for me.
    - Go out for dinner with the wife? Nah, the raging arseholes will bring their kids.
    - Using a mobile phone on a plane? Nah, the raging arseholes will just shout into it.

    There are two interesting parts her

  • by l3v1 ( 787564 )
    As ever so frequently these days, US regulations seem not to be able to keep up with modern times, and when they try to, they don't seem to get it right. I fly quite frequently between Europe and the US on Lufthansa, and I have yet to see any problems arise because of them providing wifi and gsm (Well, once I saw an attendant tell a man not to skype from the restroom, but I don't think of that as a problem :) ). Your problem is not with airlines offering these services, but the people who are idiots - howev

When the bosses talk about improving productivity, they are never talking about themselves.

Working...