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Are Phone Calls Coming To Airlines Through WiFi?

By December 20, 2016March 6th, 2023Blog, Technology News

The FCC is mulling over some new rules that could add a wrinkle to any travel plans you might be making.

The new rule would require that airlines inform customers up front, before a ticket purchase is made, if they allow Wi-Fi phone calls onboard the plane.

It has been a longstanding policy not to allow cell phone use, with the airlines citing fears that such calls could interfere with the operation of airline equipment. But given the ubiquity of high-speed, low-latency wireless internet connections, VOIP calls are becoming increasingly commonplace.

Unfortunately, such calls can often be disruptive in the confined space of an airplane and have led to numerous customer complaints, resulting in some airlines outright banning them.

The new rules would seek to standardize the process, and if they are allowed, make customers aware of that upfront before they purchase their tickets. This is so that customers can make better decisions regarding their airline choice. They can either select one that allows them if that’s something they want or need, or avoid those airlines if peace and quiet is more important than an in-flight call.

It should be noted that when the idea for the rule was being discussed on the FCC’s website, some 96% of commenters came out against allowing any form of in-flight phone communication, via Wi-Fi or not. Passengers, pilots and support staff cited the likelihood of conflicts and disruptions, making for a less pleasant in-flight experience.

There’s no word yet on when, or if the new rule will take effect.

If it is adopted, it should also be noted that it would only apply to major carriers. Small operators and planes with a capacity of less than sixty would be unaffected in any case.

This is not likely to be a game changer for many, but it is something to be aware of in the months ahead.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.