The Wall Street Journal: Ugh, phone calls during flights? Regulators may allow them

Airline travelers already upset about shrinking seats and rising fees should steel themselves for a potential new cabin reality: listening to another passenger yakking on a mobile phone.

In a surprising and likely controversial step, U.S. aviation regulators on Thursday suggested they are leaning toward eventually allowing in-flight calls from airline passengers — with two important caveats: airlines will have the option of whether to provide the service, and passengers must be informed well in advance if the flight allows calls.

While the Transportation Department likely is years away from making a final decision, here’s why it is starting its review and a change could happen: calls on trains, buses and subways already are commonplace, and advances in onboard Wi-Fi — the technology enabling such calls miles above the Earth — are improving call quality.

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