Poll: Are You In Favor or Against Telephone Calls During Flights?

he Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection of the Department of Transportation of the United States reportedly approved a recommendation that — if safe and secure — commercial airlines should be able to decide whether passengers can place telephone calls during flights.

A video of the meeting — which occurred in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 and included consumers and representatives of commercial airlines — is available here if you are unable to view it within this article.

Effective for almost a year, passengers have been allowed by commercial airlines to use portable electronic devices throughout the entire flight in Europe — without the requirement for the devices to be switched to “airplane mode” — from origination gate to destination gate in this latest regulatory step towards enabling the ability to offer ‘gate-to-gate’ telecommunication or Wi-Fi services, according to this press release from the European Aviation Safety Agency.

At that time, 77 members of the House of Representatives of the United States sent this letter to the heads of Department of Transportation, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission which strongly urged for the continuation of the current prohibition of the use of mobile broadband devices in airplanes during flights. “The letter also requested that risks to aviation safety and security arising from the proposed expansion of communications capability be addressed in a collaborative, multi-agency effort”, according to this news release from The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), which is the largest flight attendant union in the world representing nearly 60,000 flight attendants at 19 airline carriers. “The use of wireless communication devices should be subject to a multi-agency review that explores possible adverse effects by a diverse group of experts who are able address risks or even mitigate future threats or vulnerabilities.”

The proposal for the usage of portable electronic devices to place telephone calls during flights while the aircraft is above 10,000 feet in altitude within the United States was under consideration by the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States, as I first reported back on Friday, November 22, 2013. This was within a month after the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States and the European Aviation Safety Agency released announcements to allow the expansion of the usage of certain portable electronic devices to be used throughout all phases of a flight — including taxi, takeoff and landing.

This issue was revisited by me in this article posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 where I asked “Are you in favor of passengers being permitted to place telephone calls during flights — or are you against it?”

According to this poll which was posted on FlyerTalk, the statistics as of the time this article was posted — yes, that poll is still open — consisted of the following:

  • 88.97 percent of FlyerTalk members are opposed to the usage of cellular telephones during a flight
  • 11.04 percent of FlyerTalk members are in favor of the usage of cellular telephones during a flight


Yes, I do realize that the numbers add up to 100.01 percent.

Anyway, FlyerTalk members between the ages of 36 and 55 years old were the vocal majority both for and against the usage of cellular telephones during a flight — which leads to the question: could it depend on your age as to whether or not you are in favor of allowing the use of cellular telephones during flights?

Although 79 percent of travelers greater than the age of 30 are opposed to the usage of cellular telephones during a flight, younger airline passengers between the ages of 18 and 30 years old apparently are in favor of mobile telephone calls while in flight by 52 percent, according to this article posted at Yahoo! Finance which referred to a study announced in a press release.

I have said in past articles that I would support the used of “texting” using a mobile telephone or tablet. I might even relent and say that telephone calls can be permitted during a flight for a fee bordering on exorbitant to discourage passengers from engaging in long conversations. However, the last thing that I want during a flight is to hear a one-sided conversation about some business transaction loudly announced by some buffoon who has no respect or consideration for the peace and quiet of his or her fellow passengers — especially if I am attempting to relax after a long day; or if I did not get enough sleep the night before; or if I had experienced some horrific delays.

You may as well seat me next to a crying baby. It can be that irritating.

The volume of a conversation aboard an airplane may not always be due to the arrogance of a person. There can be a significant amount of ambient noise aboard an airplane during a flight — primarily emanating from the engines or propellors — which can cause a person to speak louder than normal. This may especially be true if the person does not hear well…

…and what about during announcements by members of the flight crew aboard an airplane during a flight? Will those passengers in the middle of their calls be forced to place their calls temporarily on hold or hang up?

possible compromise which I had proposed is to designate a specific area of the aircraft where passengers may use cellular telephones to place calls during a flight — and possibly have the airlines charge an ancillary fee. Those passengers would not be denied the opportunity to place telephone calls; other passengers would not have to deal with any potential etiquette and rudeness issues; and the airline can actually profit in the process.

As 20 months have elapsed since the poll on FlyerTalk was first posted, I have decided to post a new version of the poll below. Please vote in the poll and post your thoughts here in the Comments section below.

[yop_poll id=”11″]

8 thoughts on “Poll: Are You In Favor or Against Telephone Calls During Flights?”

  1. NR says:

    I am also in favor of removing your mug from the Boarding Area website. No other blogger feels the need to be plastered all over the interweb five times a day.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Thank you for reading The Gate, NR — as well as posting that constructive and helpful comment.

      You must really be a fan to imagine seeing my face five times per day, because in reality, I do not post that frequently.

      Perhaps I will try to post more often and meet that goal of five times per day — with you in mind, of course.

  2. nowhereman says:

    Technically an either/or question would always have a YES answer unless you disagreed with both options or had no opinion. YES – I am in favor or against.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      You are absolutely correct, nowhereman.

      No excuse; but that is what happens after performing multiple edits to the poll and its choices.

      I have amended the choices to make them clearer.

      Thank you — I appreciate it.

  3. Graydon says:

    Ah the good old days of Airfone. I remember making some obscenely expensive calls on an Airfone. Even then I tried to keep it short and sweet as to not annoy those around me on the flight. Now? Not a chance I would be for call during the flight. I text but that’s some T-Mobile deal with GoGo but I place my phone on silent and do it only when it’s absolutely needed then turn that feature off.

    I like your idea of a call friendly area I just hope it’s not up front where I like my wide seats and peaceful near silence.

  4. Derek says:

    The airplane is one place where we can be away from inconsiderate loud talkers who think they have important things to say. we don’t need more self absorbed people who think they are special. There is a reason for the phone booth back in the day – a place where you can have a phone call and hear the other person and wouldn’t disturb others.

  5. Holly says:

    I’m in favor. To give you a example, let’s assume that there’s a terrorist onboard the plane. In that case having air phones is a good idea.

    The passengers and crew members could use them to report the problem to people who are on the ground. Or a medical emergency occurs.

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