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Delta CEO Tells Employees Worldwide That In-Flight Calls Won’t Be Allowed

Dec 18, 2013 9:59 am

Skift Take

Delta joins Southwest in denouncing the possibility of in-flight calls, but that’s irrelevant to the FCC chairman who says it’s the agency’s role to remove a rule that’s no longer needed. The rest is up to the DOT and airlines, which are quickly revealing where they stand.

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Shannon Stapleton  / Reuters

Delta Chief Executive Richard Anderson is seen during an interview in New York May 22, 2013. Shannon Stapleton / Reuters


Delta Air Lines says it won’t allow passengers to make voice calls from its planes.

CEO Richard Anderson says the airline’s frequent fliers believe that voice calls in the cabin would disrupt the travel experience. Delta says a majority of customers in a survey last year said the ability to make voice calls would make their experience worse, not better.

Anderson also says Delta employees, particularly in-flight crews, are against allowing calls during flights.

The Federal Communications Commission is thinking about lifting its ban on voice calls on planes. However, the Transportation Department is thinking about instituting a ban of its own.

Copyright (2013) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Today Delta CEO Richard Anderson issued the following memo to the airline’s 80,000 employees worldwide. 

Last week the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted to seek public comment in consideration of lifting its ban on in-flight cell phone use. Delta will not allow cellular calls or internet-based voice communications onboard Delta or Delta Connection flights.

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. 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.

Delta has moved quickly when technological and regulatory breakthroughs provide opportunities to make flying better for our customers. That is why we were the first to file our plan with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to allow customers to use portable electronic devices below 10,000 feet. Similarly, if the FCC lifts its ban on cellular use in flight, Delta will move quickly to enable customers to use text, email and other silent data transmission services gate to gate.

Even as technology advances and as regulations are changed, we will not only consider what we can do, but as importantly we will also consider what is right for our customers and our employees. This is yet another example of how we continue to have your back and how we also rely on your professionalism and experience to guide our actions and decisions.

Thanks for all you do every day for our customers, our colleagues and our business.

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