Calls on planes left to each airline

- You might still have to wait for the plane to land before you call home.

In this Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, file photo, a man is reflected in paneling as he speaks on his phone at the Mobile World Congress, the world's largest mobile phone trade show, in Barcelona, Spain. A Spanish newspaper published a document Monday that it said shows the U.S. National Security Agency spied on more than 60 million phone calls in Spain in one month alone � the latest revelation about alleged massive U.S. spying on allies. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- You might still have to wait for the plane to land before you call home.

Even though the Federal Communications Commission is looking at lifting restrictions on using cellphones in the air, that may not be the final word on the subject. The head of the FCC, Thomas Wheeler, says Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has told him that the agency will be moving forward with its own restrictions.

Calls aboard planes have been prohibited for 22 years over fears that they would interfere with cellular networks on the ground. Technological advances have resolved those concerns.

Wheeler told members of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee today that "when the rationale for a rule doesn't exist, the rule shouldn't exist."

Even though his agency sees no technical reason to ban the use of phones on planes, Wheeler says he's telling the CEOs of major airlines that the government isn't requiring them to allow calls. Ultimately, he says the decision will rest with individual airlines.

An Associated Press-GfK poll released yesterday found that 48 percent of Americans who were surveyed oppose allowing cellphones to be used aboard planes, while just 19 percent support it.

Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus


6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 235667211 -