It’s common knowledge that cell phones are not to be used on planes, but what if you are using a VoIP service such as Skype or Viber, which is utilizing your flight’s wi-fi? That should be okay, right? Wrong!
News has gone viral on the internet regarding Viber CEO Talmon Marco, who was escorted off a Delta Airlines flight earlier last week, an incident that started as he was using his company’s own VoIP application to make a phone call to an associate while en route from New Orleans to New York in the U.S. As he did so, he was approached by a flight attendant and told he had to turn off his phone. While he ended the call immediately, he then explained that his phone was in fact switched to flight mode, and that the call was made using VoIP and wi-fi.
The flight attendant proceeded to give Mr. Marco the wrong information, saying that it was a flight safety issue, which is of course, incorrect as he was using wi-fi. However, the American FAA does note that airlines block the use of in-flight calling using VOIP applications not because of an FAA safety requirement, but because the carriers are “simply responding to the overwhelming majority of their customers, who prefer silent communications to the public nature of Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) calls.”
In other words, people on flights don’t want to sit next to someone talking away vocally over their VoIP service.
“Delta fully supports a ban on cell phone voice transmissions,” Delta spokeswoman Leslie Parker wrote in an e-mail. “We are not, however, opponents of in-flight data transmissions (i.e. text and e-mail messages) provided they do not interfere with flight deck navigational equipment.”
A recent Airfarewatchdog.com poll found that 24 percent of more than 1,200 people surveyed admitted that they don’t always comply when asked to turn off their electronic devices prior to take off, something they are usually asked to do before boarding the flight or just before take off.
So there you have it. Make sure you’re not using your app to make those voice calls when you’re in flight. You could find yourself being escorted off a plane. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with utilizing the instant messaging feature.