FCC Chairman: Calls On Planes Up To Each Airline - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

FCC Chairman: Calls On Planes Up To Each Airline

WASHINGTON (AP) - As one part of the federal government looks to remove restrictions on making phone calls from airplanes, another agency is apparently considering its own prohibition.
    
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Thomas Wheeler told members of Congress that while his agency sees no technical reason to ban calls on planes, Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told him Thursday morning that the DOT will be moving forward with its own restrictions.
    
Wheeler called his proposal to rescind the ban "the responsible thing to do." Calls have been prohibited for 22 years over fears that they would interfere with cellular networks on the ground. Technological advances had resolved those concerns.
    
"When the rationale for a rule doesn't exist, the rule shouldn't exist," Wheeler told members of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee during his 39th day in office.
    
Wheeler said he's called the CEOs of major airlines, telling them that the government isn't requiring them to allow calls. Ultimately, the decision will rest with individual airlines.
    
"I understand the consternation caused by the thought of your onboard seatmate disturbing the flight making phone calls. I do not want the person in the seat next to me yapping at 35,000 feet any more than anyone else," Wheeler said. "But we are not the Federal Courtesy Commission."
    
The DOT, which includes the Federal Aviation Administration, wasn't immediately available for comment.
    
The FCC proposal comes just weeks after the Federal Aviation Administration lifted its ban on using personal electronic devices such as iPads and Kindles below 10,000 feet, saying they don't interfere with cockpit instruments.
    
An Associated Press-GfK poll released Wednesday found that 48 percent of Americans oppose allowing cellphones to be used for voice calls while flying; just 19 percent support it. Another 30 percent are neutral.
    
Among those who fly, opposition is stronger. Looking just at Americans who have taken more than one flight in the past year, 59 percent are against allowing calls on planes. That number grows to 78 percent among those who've taken four or more flights.
    
Delta Air Lines is the only airline to explicitly state that it won't allow voice calls. Delta says years of feedback from customers show "the overwhelming sentiment" is to keep the ban in place. American Airlines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways all plan to study the issue and listen to feedback from passengers and crew.
    
Most Middle East airlines and a few in Asia and Europe already allow voice calls on planes. Southwest Airlines on Wednesday started allowing passengers to use iPhones to send and receive text messages while on board for $2 a day.
    
The nation's largest flight attendant union opposes a change, saying cellphone use could lead to fights between passengers.
    
The Telecommunications Industry Association, the cell phone providers' trade and lobbying group, is in support of the change. The association notes that in other countries that allow phone use, calls typically last one to two minutes and only a handful of people are using their phones at the same time. Additionally, many of the calls involve checking voicemail, with no speaking by the passenger.
    
__
    
Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Victim in domestic violence situation turned house fire speaks out

    Victim in domestic violence situation turned house fire speaks out

    Sunday, June 17 2018 9:26 PM EDT2018-06-18 01:26:17 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - It's been a tough 24 hours for the Winant Family.  Kelli Winant says she called police after a situation escalated with she and her boyfriend Saturday after he had been drinking.  "After he beat me pretty good yesterday, he burned our house down,” Kelli Winant Firefighters were at the home in a matter of minutes.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - It's been a tough 24 hours for the Winant Family.  Kelli Winant says she called police after a situation escalated with she and her boyfriend Saturday after he had been drinking.  "After he beat me pretty good yesterday, he burned our house down,” Kelli Winant Firefighters were at the home in a matter of minutes.

    >>
  • Tests confirm mystery animal shot in Montana was a wolf

    Tests confirm mystery animal shot in Montana was a wolf

    Monday, June 18 2018 12:37 PM EDT2018-06-18 16:37:05 GMT
    Image Courtesy KXLO via KFBBImage Courtesy KXLO via KFBB

    HELENA, Mont. - The mystery is over: Montana wildlife officials confirm that an unusual-looking animal shot in central Montana was actually a wolf.    Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials initially weren't certain what the creature was when a rancher shot it near Denton in May. They noted the legs, front claws and canine teeth were shorter and its ears bigger than normally seen on wolves. 

    >>

    HELENA, Mont. - The mystery is over: Montana wildlife officials confirm that an unusual-looking animal shot in central Montana was actually a wolf.    Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials initially weren't certain what the creature was when a rancher shot it near Denton in May. They noted the legs, front claws and canine teeth were shorter and its ears bigger than normally seen on wolves. 

    >>
  • Driver charged with following too close in Highway 395 crash

    Driver charged with following too close in Highway 395 crash

    Sunday, June 17 2018 11:55 AM EDT2018-06-17 15:55:41 GMT

    LOON LAKE, Wash.- Washington State Patrol investigators say a driver following too close led to a 3-vehicle crash at Highway 395 and Grote Rd. Saturday evening. The crash happened around 7:15 p.m. Troopers say a silver 2003 Ford Taurus driven by 17-year-old Jon Peter Nelson was northbound on Highway 395, stopped and preparing to turn left onto Grote Road.

    >>

    LOON LAKE, Wash.- Washington State Patrol investigators say a driver following too close led to a 3-vehicle crash at Highway 395 and Grote Rd. Saturday evening. The crash happened around 7:15 p.m. Troopers say a silver 2003 Ford Taurus driven by 17-year-old Jon Peter Nelson was northbound on Highway 395, stopped and preparing to turn left onto Grote Road.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Yellowstone Park superintendent shuffle shouldn't slow bison quarantine

    Yellowstone Park superintendent shuffle shouldn't slow bison quarantine

    Sunday, June 17 2018 8:20 PM EDT2018-06-18 00:20:45 GMT
    Photo by Chloe Leis on UnsplashPhoto by Chloe Leis on Unsplash
    Photo by Chloe Leis on UnsplashPhoto by Chloe Leis on Unsplash

    Officials say the impending change in Yellowstone National Park superintendents shouldn't disrupt the progress of a quarantine program created to produce brucellosis-free bison.   

    >>

    BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) - Officials say the impending change in Yellowstone National Park superintendents shouldn't disrupt the progress of a quarantine program created to produce brucellosis-free bison.   

    >>
  • Hundreds of children waiting in Texas Border Patrol facility

    Hundreds of children waiting in Texas Border Patrol facility

    Sunday, June 17 2018 7:14 PM EDT2018-06-17 23:14:16 GMT

    Hundreds of children are waiting away from their parents inside a Border Patrol holding facility in South Texas, with groups of 20 or more children to a single cage. There are bottles of water, bags of chips, and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets.

    >>

    McALLEN, Texas (AP) - Hundreds of children are waiting away from their parents inside a Border Patrol holding facility in South Texas, with groups of 20 or more children to a single cage. There are bottles of water, bags of chips, and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets.  

    >>
  • Self-driving vehicle involved in 5-car crash

    Self-driving vehicle involved in 5-car crash

    Sunday, June 17 2018 4:44 PM EDT2018-06-17 20:44:51 GMT

    Police in a Phoenix suburb say a self-driving Waymo vehicle was among five cars involved in a collision, but no serious injuries were reported. The driver of the Waymo vehicle told Mesa police that the car was not in autonomous mode at the time of Saturday night's crash. 

    >>

    Police in a Phoenix suburb say a self-driving Waymo vehicle was among five cars involved in a collision, but no serious injuries were reported. The driver of the Waymo vehicle told Mesa police that the car was not in autonomous mode at the time of Saturday night's crash.    

    >>