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Delta CEO says cellphone calls aren't welcome on Delta flights even if FCC rules change

John-Michael Bond, @BondJohnBond
December 18, 2013
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Despite the FCC moving toward ending the ban on in-flight cell usage, there's still one stumbling block on the road to iPhone freedom; the airlines. Delta CEO Richard Anderson doesn't care what the FCC decides -- as far as he is concerned Delta is still a no-fly zone for personal cell calls. But he's not completely unreasonable.

In a company-wide memo sent to Delta's 80,000 employees, Anderson laid out his vision for the future, and it's not as unfriendly to your phone as you might expect. Once the FCC ban is lifted, travelers will have access to text, email and silent methods of communication. Delta will only draw the line at talking on the phone. Why you ask? Simple. The customers wanted it.

In his statement Anderson cites a 2012 survey the airline took about cell usage.
... a clear majority of customers who responded to a 2012 survey said they felt the ability to make voice calls onboard would detract from – not enhance – their experience. Delta employees, particularly our in-flight crews, have told us definitively that they are not in favor of voice calls onboard.

Delta has a point and this writer is completely on board with its plan. Look, I'm sure most of you would be perfectly reasonable with your volume if you were able to talk on your cellphone mid-flight. But rules don't exist to deal with the considerate majority.

They exist because of the jerks in the world who would shout into their phones for an entire six-hour flight complaining about a baby that stopped crying 10 minutes into their call. As flying becomes more uncomfortable, compact and penny-pinching (seriously, let me have the whole damn can of soda), it's nice to know there's one area where our comfort will be taken into consideration.

You can read the complete Delta memo below.

Last week the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted to seek public comment in consideration of lifting its ban on in-flight cell phone use. Delta will not allow cellular calls or internet-based voice communications onboard Delta or Delta Connection flights.

Our customer research and direct feedback tell us that our frequent flyers believe voice calls in the cabin would be a disruption to the travel experience. In fact, a clear majority of customers who responded to a 2012 survey said they felt the ability to make voice calls onboard would detract from – not enhance – their experience. Delta employees, particularly our in-flight crews, have told us definitively that they are not in favor of voice calls onboard.

Delta has moved quickly when technological and regulatory breakthroughs provide opportunities to make flying better for our customers. That is why we were the first to file our plan with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to allow customers to use portable electronic devices below 10,000 feet. Similarly, 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.

Even as technology advances and as regulations are changed, we will not only consider what we can do, but as importantly we will also consider what is right for our customers and our employees. This is yet another example of how we continue to have your back and how we also rely on your professionalism and experience to guide our actions and decisions.

Thanks for all you do every day for our customers, our colleagues and our business.











In this article: delta, fcc
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