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Delta grounds idea of voice calls in flight

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Delta Air Lines won't allow passengers to make voice calls from its planes.

Right now, federal rules prohibit voice calls on planes. But the government is indicating it might loosen those rules. If that happens, it could be up to airlines to set their own policies.

On Wednesday, Delta went ahead and said, in effect, hang up and enjoy the view from 40,000 feet.

CEO Richard Anderson told workers in a memo the airline will not allow cellphone calls or Internet-based voice communications on mainline or Delta Connection flights, which are operated by other airlines under contract for Delta.

"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. A "clear majority" of customers in a 2012 survey last year said the ability to make voice calls would make their experience worse, not better, he wrote.

Anderson also said Delta employees, particularly flight crews, are against allowing calls during flights. Atlanta-based Delta is one of the world's biggest airlines.

The Federal Communications Commission has barred calls. Now the FCC is taking public comments about the idea of relaxing the ban.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 19, 2013 B7

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