Even though it the FCC’s lifting of the ban on in-flight calling seems pretty assured — FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler seems quite hot to trot to remove it — it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to make calls on just any flight. It’s still up to each individual airline to decide whether or not to allow in-flight calls, and it requires the installation of onboard technology that acts as a mini cellular tower.
Delta will not allow cellular calls or internet-based voice communications onboard Delta or Delta Connection flights.
Our customer research and direct feedback tell us that our frequent flyers believe voice calls in the cabin would be a disruption to the travel experience. In fact, a clear majority of customers who responded to a 2012 survey said they felt the ability to make voice calls onboard would detract from – not enhance – their experience. Delta employees, particularly our in-flight crews, have told us definitively that they are not in favor of voice calls onboard.
While they’re against in-flight voice communications, Delta are most certainly not against the use of portable electronics throughout the flight. Along with JetBlue, they were one of the first airlines to get their fleet certified for gate-to-gate use of lightweight devices such as smartphones and tablets. They still request that larger, heavier electronics, such as laptops, be stowed during takeoff and landing, but that’s related to the possibility of them getting launched in the event of a sudden change in altitude, not interference. As long as your use of electronics is silent to other passengers, Delta appears not to have a problem with it. If you need to make a voice call on a Delta flight, you’ll have to do it the way we do now: either until they close the door before the flight, or immediately after wheels-down at the destination city.
Delta’s 2012 customer survey isn’t the only one showing Americans’ strong preference for banning in-flight voice communications. A study conducted by Quinnipiac University shows the same preference:
As far as I’m concerned, Delta’s decision is good news. Now if they could only get past their “Least respected brand in America” status…