FCC chair comes out against phone calls on airplanes

Richard Quest: Large electronics ban will be 'chaotic'
Richard Quest: Large electronics ban will be 'chaotic'

Making phone calls from airplanes might not be cleared for landing.

On Monday, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said he wants to halt the proposal that would have allowed cell phone calls in airborne planes.

"I stand with airline pilots, flight attendants, and America's flying public against the FCC's ill-conceived 2013 plan to allow people to make cellphone calls on planes," Pai said in a statement.

Currently, federal rules prohibit people from making calls while flying. In 2013, former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler proposed relaxing those rules to let airlines and transportation officials decide whether to allow phone calls and mobile services.

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The public -- including the airline industry -- was invited to comment on the proposal. At the time, it was a divisive issue, spurring a number of columns and tweets about whether people should be allowed to talk on their phones while flying.

According to the FCC, the public overwhelmingly did not support the proposal.

The FCC will vote on the proposal, but the timing has not been disclosed yet.

Pai's comments on Monday pertain only to phone calls over cellular networks. In December, the Department of Transportation proposed a rule that would require airlines to let passengers know if their flight supported wi-fi calling on board.

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