That said, Americans are overreacting. The FCC conducted a study of countries that allowed cellphone use on planes in 2012; none of the 11 authorities that responded reported "any cases of air rage or flight attendant interference." Most countries reported low usage and short calls, and if there were complaints, they were about the cost or interruption of service.
Remember when U.S. airlines installed those pricey middle-seat phones? There were no mutinies in the sky.
If the FCC allows voice calls, my guess is that U.S. airlines will prohibit or strictly limit usage. Delta and Southwest have announced their intent to just say no. Legal departments, litigious consumers and flight attendant unions should take care of the rest.
I know world travelers who pay big bucks to visit countries that offer hole-in-the-floor plumbing and bus rides with barnyard animals and who nonetheless are terrified at the prospect of flying on a U.S. airline on which other passengers can make cellphone calls.
Truly, we live in a golden age. Americans' idea of hardship is flying safely over the entire country in six hours, with access to movies, music and their choice of news. But oh, the horrors, someone else being able to make a phone call? For this, Congress will act.
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