Delta will forbid cell phone calls on its flights


Just because you can doesn't mean you may.

Even before the Federal Communications Commission resolves the issue of voice calls on planes, the Chief Executive Officer of Delta Airlines says passengers on the Atlanta-based carrier will not be allowed to chat while aloft.

The Associated Press reported that CEO Richard Anderson says a survey of Delta's frequent fliers showed the majority think that voice calls in the cabin "would disrupt the travel experience." Those passengers also said the ability to make voice calls would make their experience worse, not better.

Anderson says Delta employees, particularly in-flight crews, also oppose allowing calls during flights.

CNN reported that last week the FCC voted 3-2 to consider lifting its ban on in-flight cell phone use. The FCC has banned such calls for technical reasons, but new technology has made that ban obsolete.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Transportation took steps to block in-flight calls and bipartisan legislation to ban cell phone conversations on commercial flights has been introduced in the Senate. In the House, a bill has been introduced that would prohibit in-flight voice communications but allow text messaging.

KTVU, the Fox affiliate in San Francisco, talked with leading scientists who disagreed about the safety of the using cell phones while flying.

Joel Moskowitz, director of the University of California, Berkeley's Center for Family and Community Health said cell phones radiate low power microwaves, and inside a metal container like a jet fuselage, they reflect and amplify. He said over-limit exposures are well documented in container-like buses and trains and such exposure is linked to health risk.

"You're going to have very high exposures in certain parts of that container and it's hard to predict even where those hot spots, so to speak, occur," he said.

U.C. Berkeley physicist Richard Muller disagreed, saying the danger is so small that it shouldn't be a concern.

"I think it's time we did it," he said. "The only downside is now I can't escape my cellphone when I'm flying in an airplane."

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