FAA Studying Cellphone Regulations

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Those who fly on commercial airplanes seem to have mixed feelings about cellphone use in the cabin -- it's convenient when you want to call someone, but annoying when the person crammed in next to you talks too loud or too long. This week, the FAA released a draft report (PDF) addressing whether more cellphone use should be allowed aboard the air carriers. The study, which was mandated by the FAA Modernization and Reform Act enacted earlier this year, looked at safety-of-flight issues, the effect on the passenger experience, and the impact on cabin crew.

The study reviewed whether aviation authorities in other countries where cellphones are allowed in the cabin had reported any cases of air rage or cabin crew interference related to passengers using cellphones on aircraft, but no such incidents were reported. The study also found no documented occurrences of cellphones affecting flight safety on aircraft with on-board cellular telephone base stations. The report is open for public comment until Nov. 5. The FAA is not required to act on this study, but any future rulemaking related to airborne cellphone use must take the study into consideration.