WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is joining the growing chorus of those opposing the idea of in-flight cell phone calls to and from people on airplanes.

It’s a possibility the Federal Communications Commission is considering for times when planes climb above 10,000 feet.

This week, Rockefeller, who is the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, sent a letter to FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to raise his concerns.

His committee has jurisdiction over both agencies.

“During the DOT’s and FCC’s consideration of this matter, I encourage you to carefully consider the possibility of banning in-flight mobile calls and to fully examine all safety issues that the use of cellular voice services on aircraft may create,” Rockefeller wrote.

“The ability to make a call on one’s cell phone is not worth compromising the safety of a flight.  I encourage you to ensure that safety remains the foremost concern for your agencies throughout the process.”

The proposal the FCC is considering would allow voice calls through a small cellular base station installed on a plane.  That station would collect cell phone activity and transmit it to the ground.  U.S. airlines could also use existing onboard Wi-Fi networks.

No matter what the FCC decides, officials with both Delta and JetBlue have already said they will continue their bans on talking on in-flight calls.

The Federal Aviation Administration recently expanded regulations to allow for the use of personal electronic devices, like computer tablets and e-books, during plane takeoffs and landings.

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  • Jason412

    Besides all the other parts of your post that makes no sense this is only a ban on in flight calls. To trigger a bomb you dont have to actually have a conversation. They dial a number, press send, and the signal then triggers the bomb. A terrorist would still be able to have his phone in his pocket, still be allowed to text message, thus still being able to detonate a bomb.

    A terrorist could also shoot RPG's at cars, doesn't mean we should all be terrified of what someone could do and let it dictate every aspect of our life.

  • College Ave

    I sincerely hope the ban on in-flight cell calls continues.

    People are tense enough dealing with airport security, flight delays, uncomfortable seating, etc. Adding a couple of hours or more surrounded by a few to several dozen people -- each The Most Important Person In The World -- yelling and yammering nonstop in their cell phones won't help.

  • Grinch

    He and Baby Joe both voted in retirement reductions for Vets. Never a reduction in what they steal.

  • DWL

    The senile Carpetbagger Jay yet again crawls from beneath his dysfunctional capital rock, sees a shadow, and in his hunched back style, spills forth with worthless BS. Even as bad as Byrd was before his death, jay is an incompetent leftist (d) loon.

  • wvwisdom

    It's sad that MetroNews continues to run “news” stories such as this one which contain no factual reporting except that the Senator's staff can still turn out a press release and a letter to the FCC. With his health problems and his age, the Senator has earned the retirement he has already started, and the news media should stop giving us the impression that he is working or accomplishing anything beyond what the staff does and announces.

  • Medman

    Well, if Rockerfeller is against it that is good enough for me. I am sure he knows about all of the technical problems and has researched this thoroughly, right?

    • caller

      What about all the cell phones in airports, airport parking lots, roads near airport, and houses near airports. Any of these brought down an airplane? Please explain the problem. I am sure Rockefeller knows all about it.

      • Jason412

        The problem is no one wants to hear your life story, probably on speakerphone, while they're flying. The majority of people cant practice common courtesy on their own, so Uncle Sam has to jam a regulation down everyones throat under the guise of a safety concern.

        • will

          Of course we don't want to hear ones life story, still how does a cell phone bring down a plane??

  • Wirerowe

    No to cell phones on airplanes.

    • caller

      Why?? Any planes brought down by a cell phone?

      • Jonus Grumby

        So we should allow them until the planes start falling out of the sky, right?

        • will

          We allow guns and lasers on the ground, still no has said how a cell phone brings down a plane.

  • Jephre

    Safety issues aside, who wants to be trapped on an airplane full of people talking loudly on their cell phones?

  • Athos

    Do you really want to be in a vehicle that a cell phone call can knock it from the sky?

    • caller

      HOW?? Has that happen yet, didn't stop the 911 planes.