It’s hard to imagine the world even more connected than it is today, but federal aviation officials are now considering in-flight rules about Wi-Fi-based calls. On Thursday, the US Department of Transportation announced it was open to public comment on the topic. In other words, it is now asking the public if airlines should enable and allow in-flight Wi-Fi calls.
Cellphone calls have been banned by the Federal Communications Commission, but there is currently no ruling on WiFi-based calls. In-flight Wi-Fi calls are technically possible today as onboard WiFi services such as ViaSat and Gogo provide a wireless signal. Since many Apple and Android phones can make WiFi calls on this signal. Some US carriers have rules against using the signal for WiFi calling, but some passengers are already skirting those rules.
Although the idea of making phone calls while on an airplane is not new, it is controversial. Other transportation venues like subways, buses, and trains allow passengers to use their cell phones.
The Transportation Department did not say what the time frame would be for new in-flight calling rules.