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FCC axes plan to allow phone calls on flights

The agency's Chairman just wants some mid-air peace and quiet.
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SasinParaksa via Getty Images

There hasn't exactly been a groundswell of support for in-flight phone calls in the US, and regulators are now ready to drop the idea. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has proposed that his agency cancel a 2013 proceeding that would have let people make cellphone calls on aircraft. It's in the "public interest," he claims, and removing the option from the table would be a win for people who "value a moment of quiet" in the skies.

Unlike many of Pai's moves, this proposal likely won't face much public opposition. Notwithstanding objections from travelers who don't want to listen to others' conversations, airlines like Delta vowed to ban in-flight calls even if the FCC allowed them. What good is loosening the rules if few people can or want to take advantage of that change? Pai's proposal isn't so much a bold decision as an acknowledgment that the concept of in-flight calls isn't likely to gain much support.

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