In-Flight Cellphone Calls to be Banned?

The US DoT is moving towards banning in-flight calls

phone

The use of electronic devices on plane flights has been banned for a number of years, not only in the US, but worldwide. Originally, the thought was that the electro-magnetic radiation or EMR from these devices would interfere with onboard aviation equipment. So the FAA banned their use on flights in the US. Recently, that policy has changed.

Last October, the FAA announced that it would permit the use of all electronic devices during all phases of flight. This meant that you didn’t necessarily have to turn off your iPad or iPod when the doors closed and you had your nose reducing headphones plugged in, turned on and pumping music through your ears during take off. No more crying and screaming children for you!

However, this also meant that you could conceivably spend the entire flight next to Chatty Cathy as she gabbed away on her cell phone at 35,000 feet. However, according to the DoT, the agency is preparing some rules that may prevent just that.

While the FAA hasn’t laid down any new rules, and the DoT hasn’t come out with anything definitive as yet, its clear that the airline carriers are considering making some rules of their own. Your time next to Chatty Cathy may be totally cut off if they get their way, so you may be saved from all of the grief.

As of this writing – 2014-08-11 – I am currently sitting in the O’Hare International Airport waiting on a flight to Pittsburgh, PA for a job interview. I’m flying the Friendly Skies, so United has my business on both legs of this trip. In my opinion, United has been one of the more restrictive carriers with passenger privileges and freedoms in Coach. It will be interesting to see how things go after I get on board.

UPDATE:
OK, well, this is already partially implemented…at least on United. They allow use of portable electronic devices at all times on the plane. When the doors close, they tell you smartphones and tablets with cellular have to be put in airplane mode. Wireless headsets are permitted, but no Wi-Fi. The flight I was on didn’t have in-flight Wi-Fi.

I fully expect that despite what the FAA or the DoT implement as rules or guidelines, that the airline carriers will do what they want. They will likely further limit the use of electronic devices on domestic and international flights originating in the US. Despite what the regulatory agencies specify, passengers will be required to follow the rules the carriers lay down. Failure to do so, will get you booted and likely banned (depending on how you behave). Its going to be an interesting time. I will continue to follow the issue and will report back with any new updates.

In the mean time, why don’t you meet me in the discussion area, below and let me know what you think the FAA and DoT should outline in any new regulations? I’d also like to hear what you think the airlines will do, too; so jump in and give me your thoughts!

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Fast and Fluid Future at Mobile World Congress 2012

The biggest names in the fastest-moving industry gathered for the 2012 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, in what has been another eye-opening telecommunications industry event. From 27 February to 1 March, more than 3000 industry CEOs joined 60,000 attendees to see the latest products and ideas from the likes of Microsoft, Google, Nokia and Sony Ericsson.

With tablets and smartphones taking centre stage in recent mobile technology, many of the latest apps and products catered for these users, although mobile and laptop technology is also seeing some major developments.

Microsoft had techy hearts a-flutter with the launch of Windows 8. The company’s two-hour conference presentation featured the phrase “fast and fluid” enough times to drive home their new focus on the latest operating system model. Windows 8 will allow users to access multiple apps at any one time, and, keeping current user trends in mind, is synchronised for social media. Users will also enjoy smoother functionality for both touchscreen and mouse/keyboard.

Meanwhile Nokia had several new mobile phones to showcase, including the Luma 610, an simple, affordable smartphone designed for the youth market. Yet what is really creating a lot of Nokia buzz is their new high-res smartphone, the 808 Pureview. This is the first mobile to take photos at up to an extraordinary 41 megapixels, and cutting-edge Carl Zeiss optics to boot. This is one to lead the way in the evolution of smartphone photography.

Google is making waves with their latest additions to the Android family, despite pressure from their Apple competitors. As well as revealing plans for more affordable smartphone, their Android Honeycomb sees a brand new app for budding movie makers. Movie Studio is a slick app designed to enhance the 3.0 Android’s current video and image technology. Users can create their own short videos, using music, text and other such features, much as you would with other video-editing software. Except this can all be done from your smartphone.

High-definition seems to be the big trend at the moment; LG, HTC and Huawei all have big, high-def mobile screens in their latest releases. Certainly HTC was keen to preview their latest smartphone, the HTC One X. This super-slim mobile is less than 1cm thick and weighs a mere 130 grams. An impressive camera, dual core processor and 4.7inch screen makes it one to watch.

Sony Ericsson revealed their new Xperia Play, a mobile phone/game console hybrid. Despite being one of the worst-kept secrets in the industry this year, it has managed to impress the critics so far. This is an interesting design, yet it does do both the gaming and mobile sides justice. It has a slide-out gaming control pad, much like the Playstation hand control, while the phone itself also features a 5.1 megapixel camera with flash and auto focus, video-recording, Bluetooth, GPS, and the usual mobile features you’d expect from Sony Ericsson.

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Legacy Devices & Android 4 – Why your Ice Cream Sandwich is Gonna Melt

I’ve seen this over and over again – I’ve got a Samsung Galaxy.  Will I get the new upgraded OS for it when it’s released?

I remember back in the day when I had a Samsung i700 on Verizon Wireless here in the US.  Windows Mobile 2003 was about to come out, and the device was fairly new, and should have received the update for it fairly quickly. Samsung came out and stated that the device would get an update; but this was the early days of true smartphones – and apparently, the driver development wasn’t going well.

The device eventually got the upgrade that was promised, but it took Samsung over 18 months to deliver it.  Eighteen months…Eighteen months?!  Are you serious?  Yes, it was well into 2004 by the time the Samsung i700 WM 2003 upgrade was delivered.

Google just released the source code for the latest version of their Android 4.0, code named Ice Cream Sandwich. As such, Samsung, HTC and others are in the process of working on Android 4.0 powered devices. Some of their flagship devices, like Samsung’s Galaxy S II, and HTC Sensation 4G may or may not see some ICS love.

At the end of the day, kids…It’s up to the manufacturer or the carrier, not Google.

This is somewhat different than my experience with the i700 and Verizon.  While it took Samsung a while to get it together, Verizon also did a great deal of “testing” with the new OS before it released it.  While the OEM and the carrier are supposed to partner together to manufacture the device, in the end, the carrier has the final say.  They’re the ones you call when you have a problem – not Samsung…not HTC.  You call Verizon, AT&T…whomever you have your mobile contract with. In the end, they really don’t want you to upgrade, however. They want you to buy a new device.  Think about it…it’s part of how they make their money.

However, I know that both Samsung and HTC have already announced a starter list for devices that will definitely get ICS.  Those lists can be found at the manufacturer’s web site, and should be easily located, so if you’ve got a Samsung, HTC, Motorola, LG, etc. device and want to know if you’re going to get the upgrade, the best place to look is their home page.

If your device isn’t going to get an automatic upgrade, it’s not over. You can always root your phone and check out XDA Developers or CyanogenMOD.  More than likely, you’re going to be able to find a version of Ice Cream Sandwich that will meet your needs at either of those two sites.

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