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FCC Considering Allowing Calls On Airplanes

CEDAR RAPIDS (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Thursday the FCC voted 3 to 2 to review its ban on in-flight cell phone use.  The commission members say they realize technology has changed since the restrictions were put in place in the infancy of mobile phone industry in 1991.  They're also aware of public surveys showing most passengers do not want the ban lifted.

Near the Eastern Iowa Airport ticket counter traveler Anthony Marlow says he doesn't understand why it's taken so long to reconsider the ban, especially since there has never been any scientific evidence cell phones cause any interference with cockpit electronics or navigation systems.

"I could understand certain limitations, but as a business traveler it'd be nice to be able to keep your phone out once that door closes."

But others echo what recent polls show.  Between half and 79% of passengers say they don't favor lifting the cell phone ban.  Scott Shannon says he prefers a quiet cabin so he can catch some sleep on flights.  He says one option might be to treat phones the way airlines used to deal with smokers.

"It would be nice if the airlines would consider sections of the plane where you aren't allowed to talk on the phone, that would be one solution."

Some passengers says they prefer having a few hours when the boss can't reach them or friends and relatives aren't constantly in touch.

 Others say having 300 people on their phones, trapped in a metal tube would be 'cell hell'  and another says if you think screaming kids are bad, imagine that.  Chad Swenka can actually speak to that point.  Traveling with his children he says staying connected isn't anything new.

"I guess I just have faith that people can act responsibly and be respectful on their phones .. we used to have phones on all flights in the seat in front of you so I think it could work."

In the end it may not matter what the FCC or any other agency decides because the final decision will likely rest with the airlines.  Delta already released a statement saying in response to feedback from passengers it will not allow voice cell phone calls on its planes.  Some flight attendants say they even worry they will have to deal with more complaints and possibly fights if passengers are sharing their life stories at a volume for everyone to hear.
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