mobile telephone Apple iPhone 12 Pro
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

Telephone Calls To Be Permitted During Flights Within Europe

This may happen as soon as possible.

The European Commission has decided to permit telephone calls aboard airplanes during flights in the European Union, with passengers being able to use their portable electronic devices to the maximum of their capacities and features — similar to that of a 5G mobile network based on the ground.

Telephone Calls To Be Permitted During Flights Within Europe

“The service is provided within the cabin of an equipped aircraft using special network equipment, the so-called ‘pico-cell’, to connect the users and route calls, texts, and data, typically via a satellite network, between the airplane and the ground-based mobile network”, according to this announcement which was posted at the official Internet web site of the European Commission. “The Commission also amended an implementing decision on 5GHz frequency bands, which makes the bands available for Wi-Fi in road transport, for example in cars and buses. The amending decision lays the foundation for innovations in the automotive industry and potentially for Metaverse applications. According to the amendment of the implementing decision, the Member States shall make the 5GHz frequency bands available for use aboard road vehicles as early as possible and at the latest by 30 June 2023.”

The implementing decision of the European Commission has reserved certain frequencies for mobile communications aboard airplanes since 2008, which allowed airlines to provide text messaging, telephone calls, and data services to passengers flying in the European Union — and this update paves the way for the wide-spread deployment of 5G services aboard airplanes.

“5G provides virtually universal, ultra-high bandwidth, and low latency ‘connectivity’ not only to individual users but also to connected objects”, according to additional information about 5G in the European Union, which is provided at the official Internet web site of the European Commission. “The deployment of 5G networks depends closely upon access to radio spectrum, the basis of wireless technologies. As the rate of connected devices and their use increases, spectrum resources and their uses have to be harmonised across Europe to allow for interoperability of infrastructure across borders. This is the basis for a broad range of services delivered with 5G for consumers, such as new smartphone apps, and professional services for various industrial sectors.”

Although no date has been specified for when mobile telephone calls will be permitted aboard airplanes during all aspects of a flight, it could happen as soon as possible.

Final Boarding Call

What are your thoughts? Do you have any hang-ups about receiving this latest information with the wish that they would put this implementation on hold; or are you receptive about the conversations flow aboard the airplane all throughout the flight? Please cast your vote in this poll:

Should voice calls be allowed aboard an airplane provided that they are conducted in a way which does not annoy others?

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I am personally still opposed to the implementation of mobile telephone calls aboard airplanes — but not as opposed as I would be about passengers using the speakerphone function, as hearing one side of a conversation is more than enough for me. I do not need to hear both sides of a conversation — or, even worse, all sides of a conference call.

In the meantime, other articles at The Gate which pertain to telephone calls aboard airplanes include:

Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

  1. Since talking is already allowed on a flight, I am not sure why phone calls would be more annoying than listening to chatty seat mates or crying children. I, personally, prefer texting in general but each to his own.

  2. They should be allowed, for the reasons that NB_ga says. People who talk loudly will do so with or without a phone, and people who find it annoying will easily find something else to get annoyed about. Also mobile calls via Wifi are already allowed on European flights as well as on British airline-operated flights between the USA and the UK.

  3. We dont need any more annoying reason to trigger people while flying. Just like everything it will be abused and there will be Karens and Kens chatting loudly for the whole flight. Passengers that are trying to relax or catch some sleep will become angry,hush the person and fights will break out.

    Phones are also banned on most public transportation busses and trains for that reason. In this age with sms and email there is no reason someone must have an urgent need to hold phone conversation while cramped inside of a metal tube, sitting side by side already fighting over the arm rest along with a bunch of other very uncomfortable people.

  4. I for one look forward to the opportunity for justified air rage. Wait for Karen or Ken to start blabbering on at full volume, then just get in their face and freak the hell out, releasing an entire day’s worth of pent up anger as you interrupt and cross-examine them on the “urgent need” for their call and what pearls of wisdom they are imparting across the miles. I bet the air marshal and the flight attendants will just sit and watch, and our fellow passengers will cheer. NOTHING WILL HAPPEN TO YOU, BECAUSE YOU CAN WALK AWAY AT ANY TIME – the incident is instantly defused once you bring the intimidation factor, and instill the appropriate level of fear, so that Karen decides to STFU rather than FAFO. Assault charge? My a..! No one will indict or prosecute, because every juror knows Karen deserves it.

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