The U.S Department of Transportation has announced a proposal that would require airlines and ticket agencies to disclose whether or not voice calls are allowed on their flights ahead of passengers buying tickets.
While the current rules set of by the Federal Communications Commission prohibits the use of mobile devices on certain radio frequencies on-board flights, the guidelines do not cover Wi-Fi and other means by which it may be possible for voice calls to be made on certain airlines. In a time when flying is one of the rare opportunities for the public to escape the distractions of mobile phone use, the loophole has sparked a lot of debate with passengers. The discussion has led to the Department of Transportation calling for airlines to state their policies in an effort to keep customers more informed. “Consumers deserve to have clear and accurate information about whether an airline permits voice calls before they purchase a ticket and board the aircraft. (Our) proposal will ensure that air travellers are not unwillingly exposed to voice calls, as many of them are troubled over the idea of passengers talking on cell phones in flight,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.
The DOT also said that as technologies advance, call quality and the availability of services is likely to increase, creating the danger of a higher prevalence of voice calls being made in the future. In order to tackle this, the department is seeking comments on whether voice calls of all types should be banned outright on flights to or from the United States. Members of the public can comment on the proposition at the regulations website.