GBTA asks for ban on cell phone voice calls during flights

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  prosborn 27 Mar 2014
at 10:03

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  • Anonymous

    Tom Otley

    The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) has asked the Department of Transportation for a ban on voice calls on mobile devices during flights, citing feedback from its membership that “… the use of mobile wireless devices for voice is detrimental to business travelers and should be banned between the time the aircraft door is closed and the aircraft lands.”

    GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick said

    “In such a confined space, there is no reasonable way to provide quiet areas on aircrafts to reduce the harm of loud cellphone conversations. DOT should not add to business traveler’s misery.”


    Good to hear some of the industry bodies are speaking up on this.

    Is the DOT referred to the US DOT or UK?


    I support that.

    Tom Otley

    Yes, this is in the U.S. The document can be found here


    I don’t support this at all. Passengers should be given choices.

    What I would support is a separate cabin with upgraded communications, including voice calls, for those that want/need it. Similar to hotels, the cost for this cabin can be incorporated into the facilities used.

    Be innovative, our generation invented social media and sophisticated communications, passengers should be given the choice whether they want to use them in flight and charged accordingly.


    The issue that never seems to go away…
    I raised it with Emirates’ VP Corporate Comms last week and heard a slightly different perspective. Emirates has had phones on every seat since 1996 and mobile connectivity is now on 60% of its fleet. He maintains the complaints they’ve had have been minimal.
    “Most are the complaints are that it’s not on every plane,” he said.


    Personally I would prefer not to be stuck within a metre of someone using a phone, however as MTMEEditor says the functionality has existed for some time and to be honest despite travelling extensively on EK I can never remember anyone ever making a call either on their own phone or the airline’s. So it may just be a storm in a teacup.

    I agree with Martyn, create a separate cabin for those people who want to chatter away.


    The cost of calls via VOIP will be far cheaper than in seat telephone. I actually can not recall ever seeing anyone use an in seat telephone..


    I recall being at a British Airways shareholder meeting where this subject was raised, and Martin Broughton stated he wasn’t keen on calls in flight, and received a rousing round of applause in support of this position (albeit that was five years ago). I’d never seen such a positive reaction from the audience to any other issue!

    I’ts possible the time will come when this is not an issue (possible when we are all wearing integrated bio-embedded phones where the speakers are inside our ears and we can speak at conversational tone and still be understood), but that’s a while away yet.

    It’s rather disappointing that views on this subject in the Middle East possible differ from my experience of a consistent and widely held view wherever else in the world I have broached this subject amongst travelling friends and colleagues.

    BA has had its 32-seat A318 service from London City Airport to NYC fitted with “no electronic use” signs instead of no smoking signs – I’m surprised more manufacturers haven’t fitted these signs as standard with the seatbelt signs as they will be costly to retro-engineer.


    Martyn Sinclair, hallo
    You say: “Be innovative, our generation invented social media and sophisticated communications.. “.

    As a general principle, no generation enjoys the innovations it makes.
    I am now enjoying online communication, chat, messaging boards like this one, telephony blended with email.

    In my bookcase behind me are all of my files of my email adoption in 1984, my proposal to BT for a Welsh-language interface for a comms server in1990, my email-to-fax usage in 1988, my data base plundering of 1989.

    In our society today, a generation is 20 to 25 years. Everything that is truly innovative today was born a generation ago. Only the self-satisfying delude themselves otherwise.

    Cheers! (a time-less notion)


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