I was on 4 planes in the past week and began to really think about why the FAA does not allow cell phones on airplanes. As the flight attendant went thru her normal spiel about what can and cannot be used, the folks behind me began to have a heated discussion about the dangers of cell phones affecting the cockpit instrumentation. I listened in, and thought how ridiculous it is that not only is the FAA propagating lies, people are believing them! Then it occurred to me. The FAA has dropped the part about “may interfere with sensitive electronics in the cabin” or something to that affect.
Think about it. If your cell phone could possibly, remotely ever pose a threat to the operation of an airplane, don’t you think they’d just take it from you at the gate, or require it to go in checked baggage? Of course they would! This alone makes the presentation of their rule ridiculous! The least they could do is come clean and give the real reasons behind the rule.
The real reason is the FCC. With the range of CDMA wireless, a phone traveling at speeds greater than 300mph could quiet easily confuse the cell network roaming faster than the protocol was designed for. ( I suspect) This would put significantly more load on the cell network than it was designed for. Coupled with the latest round of “all you can talk” cell plans, that may spell disaster for cell operators. I already suspect their networks can’t handle a majority portion of their customer base going to the latest plans. The FCC has allocated special frequencies for “air to ground” transmissions, making the use of cell phones in airplanes technologically possible. It just hasn’t been implemented widely. Likely due to cost. If they can’t give you a pack of pretzels due to cost, they sure as hell aren’t going to add cell technology to airplanes! Here’s a quick link on the FCC standing as it relates to cell phones in airplanes.
In closing, I’ll also say that I almost never fly without seeing someone on the plane getting and sending text messages, while in the air! I guess you would call that “Air Mail”