I am a vocal opponent of Hang-Up legislation that would impose a permanent federal ban on the in-flight use of mobile phones. Why? Because I do not think it is the role of government to make such a decision. It is akin to "legislating manners" as Inmarsat's David Coiley says.
I believe in an airline's right to choose whether or not it wants to offer this service, which, when you strip away the rhetoric, is actually valuable to passengers.Strip away the voice, though, and the GSM/GPRS capability is still very valuable. And yet, the US does not permit that either. Your BlackBerry can only work on US carriers if it is Wi-Fi enabled (and the carrier offers in-flight Wi-Fi).
If you are interested in this topic, I urge you to read the following advisory from the Inflight Passenger Communication Coalition (IPCC) and join us on December 10 for a live video conference with leading security and aviation experts on the value of in-flight voice communications.
Wireless Voice Communications on U.S. Commercial Flights
Leading Aviation Professionals and Security Experts to Discuss Future of Inflight Voice Communications
Contacts: Ernest Baynard (202) 550-1610; Ernest@meridian-hill.com
Ross Jacobs, (to schedule an interview) (770) 401-7162
WHAT: With the busiest travel season of the year in full swing, and all that entails, the use of mobile phones while inflight can be an invaluable asset. Currently, in-flight wireless voice service is available to more than 1.5 million passengers traveling each month on 20 international air carriers servicing 4 continents, but not in the United States. The Inflight Passenger Communication Coalition (IPCC) will be holding a live video conference with leading security and aviation experts about the value of inflight voice communications on commercial flights and its future in the U.S.
WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 10th 10 AM- 10:45 AM Conference call with live streaming video + Q &A.
WHO: Leading aviation professionals and security experts available to discuss the value of inflight voice communications on commercial flights include:
Carl Biersack, Executive Director of In-flight Passenger Communications Coalition (IPCC)
Stewart Baker, former first Assistant Secretary for Policy, Department of Homeland Security, security expert/partner Steptoe & Johnson LLP
Mr. Firas Aboudi, Director, In-Flight Systems & Procedures, Royal Jordanian Airlines
"Runway" Mary Kirby, Senior Editor, Flight International
Karen Kerrigan, President, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBEC).
How: Please register online to receive your call-in phone number and PIN: https://www.accuconference.com/customer/Registration/index.aspx?pkRegQG=b45c6924-6070-4e15-8c14-2eec25b51806
BACKGROUND: Inflight voice communications started in 2007, and now monthly over 1.5 million passengers experience in-flight voice communication services via their own mobile phone on one of 12,000 international flights going to the four corners of the globe and intersecting with a wide cultural diversity. Yet there has not been one reported incident or problem. In fact, 93% of these surveyed passengers want to fly on another aircraft equipped with in-flight communications to preserve their connectivity.
Earlier this year the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation introduced and reported its FAA bill and there is no language supporting a ban in their bill. This re-opens the door for travelers to possibly use their wireless devices on U.S. flights. However, ban language is present within the House-passed version of the bill. The differences between the two bills will eventually need to be resolved in Conference when the full Senate has completed its action on the FAA bill.
For more information on this issue go to www.passengercommunications.com