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Mixed signals over in-flight use of cellphones

Mixed signals over in-flight use of cellphones

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By JOAN LOWY, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — When it comes to deciding whether airline passengers can use their cellphones in flight, federal agencies are sending different signals to consumers.

The Transportation Department regulates aviation consumer issues, and it indicated in a notice posted online Friday that it’s considering retaining the 23-year-old ban on the calls. It’s also seeking public comment.

Two months ago, the Federal Communications Commission voted to pursue allowing the calls. The FCC has responsibility for determining whether the use of cellphones in flight would interfere with cellular networks on the ground.

Polls show that many passengers, particularly frequent fliers, oppose allowing in-flight calls from passengers’ cellphones.

Echoing their concerns, the Transportation Department says it believes that allowing passengers to make cellphone calls “may be harmful or injurious” to others.

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