The Federal Communications Commission has banned cellular services including calls on planes since 1991, to prevent jamming relay stations on the ground. But the FCC has considered since December 2013 whether to lift the ban because it is obsolete. According to Topix, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that he's trying to limit calls during his proposal to require airlines to notify travelers whether voice calls are allowed during flights is an attempt to limit calls rather than "open the floodgates.

"Our intent isn't to open the floodgates," Foxx told a roundtable of a dozen reporters. "Our intent is to see how much we can close the floodgates." Besides proposing that airlines notify travelers if calls are allowed, the department will also collect comment for 60 days on whether to ban voice calls entirely. Flight attendants have called loudly for a ban, arguing that calls could disrupt safety briefings, spur conflicts between passengers and potentially aid terrorists.

But Foxx acknowledged that airlines as a group contend the department shouldn't regulate calls. He contends that requiring airlines to notify passengers about allowing calls - and possibly banning voice calls - are authorized under the department's power to regular unfair and deceptive practices among airlines.

"Let me just be very blunt: the airlines as a group, I would say, there are some of them that believe this would be an overreach of a consumer protection to ban cellphones on planes or even to limit," Foxx said. "We'll probably get comments on how far people believe we can legally push," says Foxx via USA Today.