FCC Considers Allowing In-Flight Cellphone Calls And Everything Is Terrible

Air travel could soon get a lot noisier.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission next month will consider lifting a ban on in-flight cellphone calls, the The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.

The new rule, which the FCC will consider at a December meeting, would still prohibit calls from being made during takeoff and landing, according to the WSJ. But once the plane reaches 10,000 feet, fliers would be allowed to text, surf the Internet and make phone calls -- whether or not the person sitting next to them is trying to catch an hour of sleep as they head home for Thanksgiving.

Passage of the new rule would continue a recent trend of deregulation of electronics on planes. Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration loosened restrictions on electronics in flight by no longer requiring passengers to turn off devices when the plane dipped below 10,000 feet after takeoff and before landing. Travelers cheered that change, which made flying a bit less of a bore. This one may be less welcome: You can forget reading your Kindle in peace and quiet.

Planes, like many subway cars, offer one of the few remaining respites from constant connection in modern life. Imagine being trapped in a metal tube flying 500 mph through the air while the person sitting next to you insists on telling his aunt about his day over the phone. Or arguing with his husband. Or scolding his child. No, we don't want to imagine it, either.

Fortunately, the FCC's rule would not compel airlines to allow phone calls, just give them the option. Here's hoping there are at least a few level heads running Delta or American Airlines.