Delta CEO nixes dreams of cell phone calls in the sky

Summary:This actually won't come as a surprise to frequent fliers of the airline.


The friendly skies just got a little chillier.

Following movements by the Federal Aviation Administration to consider lifting a ban on cell phone use (in terms of calls and texting) during flights, Delta's chief executive officer Richard Anderson is nipping that idea in the bud as far as his airline is concerned.

Anderson penned and issued a pointed memo to Delta's 80,000 employees worldwide on Wednesday, citing customer research that allowing voice calls within the cabin would be "a disruption to the travel experience."

Here's more:

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.

However, frequent fliers of the airline probably aren't surprised by this stance.

Based on personal experience just this past weekend, Delta hasn't entirely gotten onboard with wireless device use (such as smartphones, tablets and e-readers set to Airplane Mode) during takeoff and landing yet either.

Anderson argued in his memo that Delta was "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," although that clearly hasn't extended to all flights yet.

Nevertheless, Delta isn't alone in that regard in the slightest. Virgin America and a few other domestic carriers have been slow to accept the new policy as well, in stark contrast to airlines such as JetBlue and United that have embraced the FAA's decision to allow use of personal electronics below 10,000 feet.

Topics: Mobility, After Hours, Networking, Tech Industry


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider,, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for, Irish Americ... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.