In a company-wide memo sent to 80,000 Delta employees this morning, CEO Richard Anderson put his foot down on the issue of in-flight passenger calls. His definitive statement, "Delta will not allow cellular calls or internet-based voice communications onboard Delta or Delta Connection flights," will apply regardless of updated regulations from the FCC. That agency is considering lifting the ban on in-flight calls come 2014, but the Department of Transportation may follow up with its own ruling to maintain the phone-free environment many of us have come to enjoy at 30,000 feet.
Meanwhile, powerful in-flight internet services, like JetBlue's recently launched Fly-Fi, take communications a step further, enabling VoIP and video chat services with performance that makes using these tools more than a novelty. Delta, for its part, will support non-voice cell services pending FCC and FAA approval: "if the FCC lifts its ban on cellular use in flight, Delta will move quickly to enable customers to use text, email and other silent data transmission services gate to gate."
(AP Photo/Reed Saxon)