Phone call ban could be lifted, says an airline

Image copyright EAT Media Image caption This photo was taken at the Digital Aircraft Systems festival in Germany in March

Companies have voted in favour of allowing passengers to make cellphone calls on planes.

However, the practice is unlikely to go ahead any time soon as no-frills airline easyJet does not want to listen to calls.

UK and US airlines say passengers have reservations over allowing the calls because of interference with the airwaves.

British Airways told BBC News that passengers are happy with the 1 September announcement by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

The ICAO, an arm of the United Nations body, recommended that planes should have voice communications.

However, no decision has been made.

“We are continually engaging with our customers, and they want peace and quiet on their aircraft so the next step in the ICAO assessment will be to collect more data on passenger comfort and anxiety before any restrictions can be adopted,” said a British Airways spokesperson.

Can the technology withstand interference?

Technically speaking, no.

In October, members of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) voted in favour of allowing cabin crews to make noise during long haul flights.

But the ITU said that the loss of signal from a cell phone in a plane could affect the wireless networks for the toilet, toilets and coolant.

Passengers don’t like planes making noise during their journeys.

Image copyright Stock image Image caption It could be years before you get your wish for cell phone calls in the sky

Boeing, Airbus and Delta are reported to be actively trying to find a way to turn the calls off.

“These operations have the potential to pose a nuisance problem for passengers,” said Boeing’s director of aircraft auxiliary power systems, Mark Bohn.

At present, allowing a phone call is permitted from the point of landing until within eight hours of the flight departure.

After that, people are expected to place calls via their personal “receiver” on the ground.

Flight restrictions still apply so you will not be able to use your phone when you are in the air unless the crew lets you.

The Atlantic Ocean is not a very good place to make a call at 40,000ft, says Bob Woodruff, managing director of aviation at Plaid Group in Britain.

“This is not the place for a cheap phone call. It will be best if you go into a public area.”

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