PASSENGERS who want to escape from loud phone calls during a flight may soon be left disappointed as more airlines are introducing technology that makes it possible.
Even worse, mid-flight voice calls could be coming to planes in the next couple of years, according to experts.
Here is everything you need to know about how it works and whether it is allowed.
How would it work?
Passengers must have their phones on airplane mode during a flight, meaning no SMS texts or phone calls using data services.
But some airlines have introduced WiFi to planes, allowing passengers to stream and stay in contact.
This can also be used to make voice calls using web-based apps like WhatsApp.
Emirates and Virgin Atlantic are some of the carriers that allow passengers to use their internet services to make phone calls.
Other airlines such as British Airways, while they have WiFi on board, add that voice calls are “unavailable” through their services.
Most airlines already have the capability of allowing in-flight phone calls, but have yet to decide on whether to implement it according to experts.
Don Buchman, vice president of communication company Viasat, told CNN: “When the industry is ready, it probably will be as simple as flipping a switch.”
Some airlines have banned phone calls while others have introduced new technology to allow them
What are the laws about making calls on flights?
According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the UK: “The use of mobile phones onboard aircraft to make voice calls or send texts is prohibited on UK airlines, unless the aircraft has been especially equipped with an approved mobile phone control system.”
This means that it is only allowed if the airline has introduced the technology on the plane.
They also add that passengers should “assume they cannot” make calls or texts unless crew say otherwise.
However, they add that while an “increasing number” of airlines are equipping aircraft with WiFi, the “full restrictions” of banned calls and texts remain in place unless stated by crew.
The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in the US bans phone calls on flights.
Do people want it?
The majority of people do not want the service – flight crew claim it could cause safety problems while only 11 per cent of travellers do want it.
However, business travellers who travel a lot claim it would make emergency calls easier mid-flight.
However, the reason calls are unlikely to be introduced are because passengers don’t want to hear other people’s calls, according to an American pilot.
One man who forgot to put their mobile on airplane mode was charged hundreds of pounds after it began roaming and connected the flight network which was a pay-for service.
While some planes allow passengers to charge their phones on a flight, some airlines could soon charge you for the service.