Passengers will soon be able to make phone calls, but not whether you want them

Four years ago, Republic Airways Holdings Inc. announced it would begin offering passengers on board regional jets cell phone calls. The move angered a vocal minority who feared the policy violated their privacy. Republic Airways ended up reversing that decision, but that hasn’t stopped a number of operators and airlines from starting programs to allow passengers to make calls aboard planes.

Outgoing and incoming texts, mobile phone calls, and some Wi-Fi can be logged and forwarded from planes that are equipped with connectivity for handsets and mobile devices. Emirates, Middle East’s largest airline, has said it would not allow such a feature on its Boeing 777 planes, but might open it up later to allow passengers to answer and make calls.

Here in the United States, the Transportation Security Administration requires passengers to place their phones in secure position on their tray tables or in bags during security screenings.

More than 90 percent of Americans want to ban the calls, according to a recent poll. But fewer than a quarter of respondents are in favor of making calls on planes in the first place.

Welcome to 2019. Get used to being in the minority.


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