Airline may let fliers use cellphones
Early next year, Singapore Airlines will begin to install technology in dozens of planes to let passengers surf the Internet and send e-mail from 35,000 feet in the air, the airline has announced. The circuitry it plans to install in at least 40 long-haul jets by 2013 would also allow passengers to make airborne cellphone calls.
But Singapore Airlines remains undecided whether to allow cellphone calls.
"As we get closer to the launch date, we will decide whether voice calling in the cabin will be activated," said James Boyd, a spokesman for Singapore Airlines. One consideration, he said, is whether passengers want to make calls in flight.
The hesitation is not surprising.
Although a handful of airlines in the Middle East and Europe allow cellphone calls during flights, federal regulators in the U.S. prohibit the practice, saying the calls may interfere with an aircraft's navigation systems.
But the problem may not be the technology. After all, Emirates airline has allowed cellphone calls since 2008. Cathay Pacific announced plans in July to let passengers use their cellphones in the plane by 2012.
A bigger issue may be that passengers and airline crews hate the idea of turning a crowded, airborne cabin into a flying phone booth.
The Federal Communications Commission considered lifting the ban in 2004, but it stopped looking into the idea after being inundated with letters, e-mails and calls in opposition.
The pending reauthorization bill for the Federal Aviation Administration includes a proposal to ban all cellphone calls on U.S. commercial planes -- except by airline crews and law enforcement.In a 2005 survey by the National Consumers League and the Association of Flight Attendants, 63 percent of airline passengers said they opposed cellphone use on planes.
The flight attendants union says the chatter would disturb passengers and make their jobs much harder. "While there is technology available now, it seems that the general public still wants the aircraft to remain cellphone free, so it's not just flight attendants who have an issue with it," said Corey Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the group.
-- McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
How do you feel about allowing in-flight cellphone use. Would you welcome it, or would you see it as a problem. Post a comment below.
Posted by: PepperDr | October 18, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: jn22 | October 18, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Hattrik | October 18, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: getjiggly1 | October 18, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ms1234 | October 18, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ursofakingdumb1 | October 18, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: blankspace | October 18, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: salanatoli | October 18, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: vfr2dca | October 18, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: mlbuhl | October 19, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: crokc71 | October 20, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse