Aside from water, soda, and peanuts, soon people may request for earplugs aboard their favorite airline carriers if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) goes ahead with its plan of lifting in-flight call ban. The federal agency filed a proposal, Tuesday, that will allow an airline company to decide whether it will allow passengers to talk over the phone, send text messages, or browse the Internet while in mid air.
Current FCC rules prohibit the use of mobile devices because of potential interferences it may cause. With the advancement of technology, however, there are now special equipment that can be used in airplanes to ensure that usage of such devices will not interfere with normal flying operations.
"In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the Commission proposes to revise outdated rules and adopt consistent new rules governing mobile communications services aboard airborne aircraft. These rule changes would give airlines, subject to applicable Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Transportation (DoT) rules, the choice of whether to enable mobile communications services using an Airborne Access System and, if so, which specific services to enable," the summary of the 68-page FCC proposal [PDF] read.
The said proposal will be posted on the Federal Register on Wednesday and will be subjected to inputs for 30 days before any final action is taken by the FCC. Of course, if changes will be made, the airline companies will have to consult its customers and follow set rules by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as well.
While the FCC proposal is yet to be posted, the website of the commission already shows over 4,100 comments.
"Flying already can be a less-than-fully-civilized experience. I, and many other frequent flyers with whom I am friends, would definitely fly less frequently...if people are allowed to take their devices off of 'airplane mode' while in flight," wrote a certain Nancy Greiff from Portland.
Scott Flesner from Wisconsin is worried about "air rage" when the government allows the use of mobile phones during flight.
"This isn't just an issue of comfort or courtesy, it's one of safety. In cramped airline cabins, passions already run high. Even when people try to talk quietly on mobile phones, they speak more loudly than they expect because of a lack of sidetone and overcompensation for background noise. Loud mobile phone conversations could dramatically increase the prevalence of 'air rage,' endangering the lives of passengers and crew," he said.
Some just cannot imagine enduring the flight and a chatty seatmate.
"Why should the rights of the many to enjoy what meager quiet time available be impinged upon for the few loud, enduring and senseless conversations and distractions. We're already crammed in there like a can of sardines with no options but to endure the flight," said Andrew Jerina from Texas.
In general, the comments are against allowing people to make phone calls while aboard aircrafts.
As for the DOT, the governing body is looking into banning in-flight calls.