Delta CEO: In-flight cell phone calls would be a ‘disruption to the travel experience’

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Delta equipped 19,000 flight attendants with Windows Phones earlier this year.

If you’re a frequent Delta Airlines customer and hate the idea of people making in-flight cell phone calls, there’s some good news for you this morning.

Delta CEO Richard Anderson wrote up a memo to 80,000 Delta employees notifying them that even if the U.S. Federal Communications Commission decides to allow cell phone calling in the air, Delta customers won’t be able to do so.

Anderson said that Delta’s customer research and feedback signal 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,” Anderson wrote. “Delta employees, particularly our in-flight crews, have told us definitively that they are not in favor of voice calls onboard.”

Anderson’s note comes as the FCC explores lifting a ban on making cell phone calls during flights. In October, the FAA announced that passengers would be allowed to use electronic devices whenever they’d like — including during takeoff and landing — but still banned the use of cell phone calls.

This isn’t to say Delta is against technology. Earlier this year, the airline equipped 19,000 flight attendants with Windows Phones and a few months later, announced it was supplying its pilots with Surface 2 tablets.

Here’s the full memo from Anderson:

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.

Meanwhile, in aviation-related news, the first Alaska Airlines plane with power outlets at every seat flew today:

  • http://www.intrinsicstrategy.com/ FrankCatalano

    Please, Alaska Airlines. Please follow suit, asks this Million Mile Flyer. Texting? Fine. Email? Fine. Listening to half a conversation as a constant distraction and from which there is no escape? I’d rather walk.

  • JD

    Greatest airline of all time. I will forever fly Delta now.

  • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

    Translation: this would disrupt the horrible, miserable experience our travelers already have by making it even more horrible and miserable.

    I guess thank goodness for small things though. I’d hate to hear people yammering on their phones the entire flight, especially if they’ve hit the bar or had in-flight drinks as that makes people even louder and more obnoxious.

  • Chatty

    Oh …just wait. There will be a new premium section on a plane now. “How about upgrading to the ‘phone free section? It’s only $50 more each way”. Or converting a lav into a phone booth . . . only a buck a minute.

    Cynic? Nope. Realist? Yea….

  • Wakeup

    Hey Delta, you know what is a bigger disruption to the ‘travel experience’ on your airline? Your brutal, why-are-you-bothering-me, can’t stand my job, union is too strong to fire me, trans pacific flight crews. If you really care about the travel experience then focus on that instead.

    • GoogleBeforeYouPost

      Umm.

      Delta is not union. NWA was. In fact there are movements to get Delta FAs in an union.

      I think its time for you to… “wakeup”.

    • http://www.intrinsicstrategy.com/ FrankCatalano

      It’s even possible this OT comment is as annoying as the mobile phone conversations Delta is banning. Well, maybe not.

  • Viet Nguyen

    Perhaps a “crying baby & cell phone talkers” section of the aircraft?

    • http://www.intrinsicstrategy.com/ FrankCatalano

      The talking soothes the babies, or the babies make the talkers give up. Either way, it’s a win-win.