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Rude, dangerous or a modern reality? The debate on making cell calls midair

Phone calls in flight
Proposal under review to allow phone calls on flights 01:48

This may not be progress, but the Transportation Department says it may allow phone calls on planes.

“Some people have a lack of respect or courtesy when they are talking on the phone,” says Cicely Carroll from Virginia, who is worried about the possibility of in-flight phone calls. 

The Department of Transportation’s plan would allow airlines the option to provide the service. If they do, the carriers would be required to inform passengers in advance that on board calls are allowed.

Cicely Carroll from Virginia makes a call in the airport. CBS News

Tara Quinnette from Florida would opt out.

“If it’s not much of a cost difference, I may go with the airline that didn’t allow you to use them because I think it could get out of hand,” she said. 

New rule could allow calls on flights 00:24

“We are going to fight this tooth and nail,” says Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants. “If this is enacted, we will fight this in Congress. Flight attendants will be in a position of deescalating more and more conflict, which creates a security and safety threat for everyone on board.”

While the federal government currently bans cell phone calls on planes, the prohibition does not extend to calls placed through on board internet connections -- something that’s become increasingly available on commercial flights.

Delta, American and Southwest do not permit calls in-flight and said they have no plans to change their policy. United and Jet Blue are both reviewing the proposal.

Passengers use WiFi midair. CBS News

Some passengers, like Marji Moffatt, are already on board.

“With the technology that everybody uses today, I think that would be a great thing,” Moffatt said. 

The public has 60 days to comment on this proposal, but by then a new Trump administration would have the final say. Until then, the plan remains up in the air.

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