While in-flight calls using cellular networks remain off-limits, carriers may set their own policy concerning Wi-Fi enabled calls through mediums like Skype or FaceTime. The DOT is considering whether airlines must disclose at time of purchase whether or not these types of calls are allowed, similar to mandatory baggage fee disclosures. It requested feedback from the public, including airlines, and now United Airlines has weighed in.
United Says It Has No Plans to Allow In-Flight Calls, Even if Legal
Citing both customer and employee feedback, United has no plans to back away from its voluntary ban on Wi-Fi enabled voice calls. Further, even if in-flight calls via cellular networks are one day made legal, United still will not allow them.
In keeping with the spirit of the DOT’s interest in disclosure, United wishes to make clear that it has no current plans to allow passenger voice calls using personal devices while airborne, even if future regulatory activity allows for inflight cellular communication…United believes that prohibiting passenger voice calls while airborne is the right thing to do for our employees and our customers, making the United inflight experience more pleasant for everyone aboard.
Customers and employees opposed to the potential nuisance of in-flight calls will breath a sigh of relief over this news. View from the Wing shared a story yesterday in which airline employee unions are arguing in-flight voice calls would make travel unsafe because other passengers would not be able to hear safety announcements.
That’s ridiculous. In-flight calling exists on flights around the world and passengers are simply asked to pause conversations — including telephone calls — during safety briefings. A simple solution…
I support the introduction in-flight calling and made my case for why here. Put simply, I believe fears are overblown and unreasonable: they are not borne out by evidence. On the contrary to critics, I believe in-flight calling may lead to diminished air rage rather than exacerbating it.
> Read More: Here’s Why I Support In-Flight Cell Phone Calls
For now, I believe we will see most airlines take a position similar to United. Public opinion generally and flight attendants particularly vehemently oppose in-flight calling and it will take either a test case (perhaps Spirit Airlines?) or a way to truly monetize in-flight calls in order to modify this trend. Still, United did not say it would NEVER allow in-flight calls, only that it has no “current plans” to do so…