The European Aviation Safety Agency recently voted to allow all cellphone use inflight, including the ability to make phone calls. This reverses the EASA policy from nearly a year ago where passengers were only allowed to use their devices in airplane mode. This means that European carriers can join other international airlines who already allow passengers to use their phones for calls.
So will the U.S. FCC and DOT ride along with this program? Very doubtful but in truth, this may be much ado about nothing.
Particularly in the U.S., there is very little support for allowing inflight conversations on phones. Delta CEO Richard Anderson came out strongly against it. So have the pilots, flight attendants, and most passengers.
In Europe, the final decision will rest with the airlines but each carrier has to prove that using electronic devices will be safe in the air. Some may allow it, others won’t. The article quotes a British Airways representative who says they support the use of devices inflight but not phone calls. Most likely the majority of other European carriers will have a similar program, particularly if they have international flights to the States.
This is really the right way to go about it. Instead of a blanket policy for all airlines, it should be a choice by each one to decide whether or not they want to allow phone conversations. I am long on record in opposition to it but in the end, let each airline decide instead of a uniform government policy for everyone. While I can’t imagine any U.S. carrier supporting the use of cellphone talk inflight, shouldn’t they have the right if they so desire?