Are on-board cell phone bans necessary?
Hard evidence proving cell phones interfere with aeronautical systems is scarce. All five pilots WWAY spoke with agreed they have never experienced interference with cell phones powered on during a flight. So is the on-board cell phone ban really necessary?
President of Air Wilmington, Bill Cherry, said it is better to be safe than sorry. “We cautiously tell them to turn it off. There is no downside to it, we’ve not seen it or experienced any electronic device interference, but the potential is always there.”
The Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Communications Commission both oversee the use of cell phones on airplanes. Thousands of feet in the air, the FCC said a cell phone will bounce off multiple towers, using up bandwidth. The FAA said each cell phone used on a flight would have to be approved, and with constantly changing technology, that would be too much of a headache.
The FAA and the FCC both agree lifting the ban is not worth the potential for cell phones to cause interference with communications and navigation. But as technology advances, making a call from your cell phone 40,000 feet in the air, may be a possibility in the near future. “The FAA and the FCC researched this very heavily. This is not a lightly-taken certification. So if they say it’s okay, you won’t have any problems,” added Cherry.
Two years ago, the cell phone ban was lifted on some flights in Europe and has not presented any problems, so far.
About five years ago, the FCC considered lifting the ban in the US, but decided against it. Even if they allowed it, the FAA could still restrict it.
Most airline passengers would probably also agree, a flight full of people talking on their cell phones would be pretty annoying. Not to mention potential for huge roaming charges.
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