comscore Airborne phone use facing ban | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Airborne phone use facing ban

Question: Will calls be allowed on flights?

Answer: If airlines allow passengers to make in-flight cellphone calls, the carrier must notify passengers in advance, under a rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The rule, proposed last week, may be a moot question because the Department of Transportation is still considering a complete ban on airborne voice calls within, to or from the United States.

Still, the agency said that if such calls are allowed, airlines could prohibit them on all or some individual flights, and should notify passengers of the policy in advance.

The Federal Communications Commission currently prohibits cellphone calls on commercial flights but has opened the door for phone calls using the airplane’s Wi-Fi connection. Several airlines, including Delta Air Lines, have said they oppose allowing any voice calls on their planes.

Flight attendants have also spoken out against calls on planes, saying loud phone conversations are sure to create conflict and confusion.

Fliers sought for TSA PreCheck

The Transportation Security Administration acknowledges that security lines at the nation’s airports could be shorter and that the agency could save money if more travelers were to sign up for an expedited screening program.

A private company hired to sign up travelers for the program, TSA PreCheck, is trying to help out the cause by going mobile.

The company, Morphotrust, is employing a recreational vehicle on the East Coast and a second RV to focus on the West Coast to travel the country and sign up travelers at businesses, colleges and other locations.

A schedule can be found at Inside the vehicles, travelers can apply for TSA PreCheck, undergo a fingerprint scan and show identification — all the requirements to start the background check needed to qualify for the program.

Once accepted into the TSA PreCheck program, travelers can use special TSA screening lines that don’t require fliers to remove their coats, shoes or belts. They also can keep their computers in their carry-on luggage during the security check.

More than 4 million travelers are registered for the PreCheck program, but TSA officials were hoping to sign up about 25 million fliers for TSA PreCheck and similar programs by now.

The TSA charges an $85 fee to enroll in TSA PreCheck for five years, but a university study recently suggested the federal agency could enroll 25 million frequent fliers free of charge and still save money on the screening process.

Hugo Martin, Los Angeles Times

Comments (3)

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    • Dear non-flier_
      Stuck in a seat for 5-9 hours while your next seat member talks non-stop, loudly about stupid stuff is only a smidge short of someone kicking your seat for hours or reclining into your lap for the trip. I can imagine 1000’s of “in flight” rage incidents!

  • No calls. Email and chat is plenty. Soon folks will be abusing the in-flight wifi anyway, and making calls and other communications. Headphones mandatory.

    $85 for TSA? NFW. Should be free, or pay passengers to check-in. TSA wouldn’t have a job without travelers, so be grateful!

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