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Delta puts the kibosh on in-flight cell phone calls

Even though the FCC is moving forward on lifting the ban on phone calls while in flight, Delta's CEO says his airline still won't allow it.


As holiday air travel starts to ramp up and the Federal Communications Commission just took the first step in easing restrictions on in-flight calls, Delta airlines wants to be certain no cell phone conversations will be taking place on its planes.

The company's CEO Richard Anderson penned a memo to its 80,000 employees on Wednesday to say no way to up-in-the-air chatting.

"Delta will not allow cellular calls or internet-based voice communications onboard Delta or Delta Connection flights," Anderson wrote. "A clear majority of customers who responded to a 2012 survey said they felt the ability to make voice calls onboard would detract from -- not enhance -- their experience. Delta employees, particularly our in-flight crews, have told us definitively that they are not in favor of voice calls onboard."

The possibility of passengers making cell phone calls while aboard airplanes could be on the near horizon. Last week, the FCC voted to approve a measure that will open up for public comment a proposal that will lift the technical ban on in-flight cell phone use.

However, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler did say during the meeting that it will ultimately be up to the airlines whether they allow people to talk on their phones during flights.

While some airlines, like Dubai-based carrier Emirates, already allow in-flight cell phone talking, it's not likely air travel will eventually be filled with people yapping on their phones.

Besides Delta, Southwest and Virgin America have also said that they aren't inclined to allow in-flight calls, according to The Wall Street Journal. Despite Delta giving the thumbs down to in-flight cell phone talking, Anderson said he is happy to accommodate customers that want to use "silent data transmission," like e-mail and texting.