Although federal authorities say the practice is safe, cellphone calls from 30,000 feet may soon be prohibited for other reasons. The Department of Transportation's general counsel said in a speech last week that the agency is moving for a ban on all in-flight calls, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people present. A DOT spokeswoman confirmed to the paper that the department is working on a "notice of proposed rulemaking" to be published in December. The primary concerns, the Journal reported, are "disruptive effects of voice calls rather than texting or other data use."
The airline industry, however, is pushing to leave the decision in carriers' hands, as some might want to use their rules for competitive differentiation, the Journal reported. The Federal Communications Commission proposed overturning safety regulations banning in-flight cell use in December.