Delta, JetBlue, United decide against in-flight calls

By Kate Rice

Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson said in a memo to employees that it will not allow cellular calls or Internet-based voice communications onboard its flights.

Anderson issued the memo in response to a vote by the Federal Communications Commission to seek public comment on the possibility of lifting the ban on in-flight cellphone use.

"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," Anderson wrote in his memo. "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."

Meanwhile, JetBlue and United also stated they did not intend to allow in-flight use of cellphones.

JetBlue said the "the majority" of passengers who have voiced an opinion are against cellphone use. "We have no plans on installing the cellular transponders that would allow cellular calls," said Tamara Young, manager of corporate communications. "Overall, we will prioritize making the cabin comfortable and welcoming for all -- including those who like peace and quiet."

United said that it is looking at the views of its passengers and crew members about cellphone use but said that, at this time, it does not intend to permit use of cellphones.

American Airlines said that it will keep its customers' wishes in mind should the FCC give airlines the power to decide whether they want to allow in-flight use of cellphones. "We understand that this is an important issue to many of our customers," it said in a statement.

Follow Kate Rice on Twitter @krtravelweekly. 

This story has been updated with responses from JetBlue, United and American. 

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