Cell phone use in flight would still ban phone calls

(WJLA) - The Federal Communications Commission may be close to allowing the use of cell phones in flight at all times, but with a catch - there would still be a ban on phone calls.

The Washington Post reports that the latest move to loosen restrictions on the use of electronics during all phases of flight would include a Department of Transportation proposal that would still keep passengers from talking on their phones during flights.

As of now, passengers can use many of the functions of their mobile devices in either Airplane Mode or through WiFi. The biggest change to the rule would allow flyers to use their data plans to browse the internet and send and receive text messages.

Several lawmakers have introduced legislation that would continue a ban on phone calls in flight, the Post says.

On Nov. 21, federal regulators announced their intention to relax rules regarding mobile devices on planes, with new FCC chairman Tom Wheeler telling the Associated Press that he was in favor of greater in-flight access to mobile broadband.

It all comes on the heels of the FAA's decision to allow passengers to use most electronics, like tablets, iPods and other devices, during all phases of flight. Many airlines immediately adopted the new rules after the FAA approved them.