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Wendy is an IFE Agent responsible for aggregating airline news specifically related to Inflight entertainment. She compiles stories relevant to business travelers, airline industry folks, marketers and tech geeks. IFE News doesn't create original content, but rather posts compelling editorial from global media outlets.

In-flight cell solution: Phone booths on planes?

By Chris Erskine
Throw cellphones from the plane? Well, at least get them out of our hearing range, passengers say.

A poll of nearly 5,000 flyers found they would strongly favor putting phone booths in planes to protect privacy if the FCC ultimately decides to allow in-flight cell use.

The booths were proposed in an online poll by Airfarewatchdog, a fare-tracking website. It asked users: Do you think airlines should install in-flight phone booths to keep things from getting too loud on-board?

  • 90% said, “Yes, let’s keep it civil.”
  • 10% said, “No, we should all be allowed to make calls when and where we want.”

The FCC has voted to consider lifting the ban on cellphone calls from planes, saying it is now no threat to airline navigation systems.

The agency must accept and consider comments from the public for a two-month period.  The move is controversial. Delta and Southwest have already said they would not allow passengers to use phones on their flights.

“Personally, I don’t think that in-flight phoning will ‘fly,’” said Airfarewatchdog President George Hobica. “Already, two airlines have said they won’t allow it, not because of safety concerns but because in the confined atmosphere of the airplane, with the roar of jet engines, people will be shouting into their phones even more than they unnecessarily do on the ground, and this would make an unpleasant experience even more so, especially during nighttime flights.”

Hobica notes that adding a quiet space would require giving up seating — and thus, revenue. Another mark against his phone booth proposal.

“Barring that solution, I don’t see many U.S. airlines permitting ‘can you hear me now?’ at 35,000 feet,” he said.


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