Will passengers soon make in-flight calls?

June 24, 2014 |

OnAir, Airbus and SITA are encouraging the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to define its regulations regarding the use of mobile devices on planes to permit carriers to determine whether or not they will allow passengers to make in-flight calls. According to Skift, the groups also encouraging the U.S. government to reject any legislation that would ban the use of cell phones on flights.

OnAir’s argument stated that in-flight connectivity is a major part of the growing market across the world as business travel continues to grow. The source reported that a recent survey showed that only 18 percent of U.S. air passengers have used in-flight connectivity, highlighting the potential growth that lies ahead.

In addition to the suspected growth of in-flight connectivity, 18- to 24-year-olds are also the most likely to use connectivity on flights to communicate with those on the ground, and as this demographic moves more into the working world, will show an increased need for its use on planes.

“The U.S. authorities have three choices,” OnAir CEO Ian Dawkins told Skift. “You can give the airlines the right tools to allow them to decide what services to offer passengers. You can allow airlines from the rest of the world to offer cell phone services when they are in your airspace. The third option is to try to stop progress with a ban.”

Fliers use in-flight Wi-Fi for entertainment
While companies such as OnAir push to allow for in-flight calls and the use of mobile devices to access communication capabilities for traveling businessmen, a Google Consumers Survey found that the majority of those who now travel use in-flight Wi-Fi for entertainment rather than work.

According to Skift, user habits include work and communicating but the majority cited using it for entertainment purposes. However, nearly 40 percent of travelers that said they use in-flight Wi-Fi for work.

The survey also found that men are more likely to use in-flight Wi-Fi for work while women are more likely to use it for entertainment and communication, Skift reported.