America’s ongoing refusal to allow the use of mobile phones on passenger
airlines simply doesn’t make sense, according to a recent report by Freesky
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Businesspeople in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe are able to be far more
productive on commercial airlines than U.S. passengers, who are required by law
to turn off their cell phones and other wireless devices before takeoff. The FCC
considered revisiting these regulations last year, but ultimately decided not to
make changes, citing concerns that mobile phones could interfere with radio
communications technology on planes.
Research and empirical evidence over the past five years, however, has
consistently debunked these concerns, with hundreds of wirelessequipped
passenger planes now flying each day without incident. The European Union’s
Aviation Safety Agency formally approved an airtoground cellular
communications system called OnAir last year.
“As long as the United States maintains its current policy banning cellular
antennas from being used on jets, it is allowing other countries to leap ahead
with inflight productivity, while facing mounting evidence that there is no
safety benefit to passengers,” commented Freesky’s chief analyst, David Gross,
in a statement.
Anticell phone laws on American (and Canadian) airlines can also be used to
persecute people who simply use a device with wireless capabilities while
flying, even if they are not making or receiving a call. This became evident
last year when one passenger was arrested after using an Apple iPhone to listen
to music aboard an ATA Airlines flight to Hawaii.
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