Even if federal regulators clear the use of cell phones and other mobile devices on airplanes, a Wisconsin Congressman argues it may not be the best idea to actually allow in-flight conversations to happen.
The Federal Communications Commission is currently investigating whether it’s safe to lift restrictions on passengers connecting to mobile networks while a plane is in the air. U.S. Representative Tom Petri (R-WI) says, at this point, the FCC is simply doing a technical review of the issue to determine if the technology would interfere with the safe operation of airplanes.
Federal regulations currently prohibit the use of mobile devices that are not in “airplane mode” while planes are in the air. The Federal Aviation Administration only recently changed rules to allow passengers to use unconnected devices on take off and landing, instead of restricting their use to above 10,000 feet.
Even if the agency says there are no problems with mobile networks being used in the air, the FAA and individual airlines would still have to approve their use. Petri has doubts about whether that would happen, given the tight quarters and limited movement passengers have available on planes.
AUDIO: Rep. Tom Petri (:11)
The Sixth District Congressman says he would have no problem with allowing people to connect to mobile networks while in flight to access services such as texting and the internet. However Petri, who previously sponsored a bill that would have banned in-flight calls, says allowing passengers to make phone calls from their seat during a long flight just seems to infringe on “good manners.”
A decision by the FCC is expected in mid-December.