The Phoney War: UK holidaymakers and industry rally against calls on planes

The Phoney War: UK holidaymakers and industry rally against calls on planes

There is a strong argument against making telephone calls on planes, reveals the World Travel Market 2015 Industry Report, released today (Monday 2 November) at World Travel Market London.

More than 2,000 senior industry executives and more than 1,000 holidaymakers were asked whether they support telephone calls on planes – with the answer a resounding no.

Less than one in five holidaymakers believe that making calls should be allowed during a flight, with 63% of senior industry executives agreeing with them. Their reasoning behind this is likely to be a fear of both technical and social factors.

Currently, both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have rules that say you cannot use your phone for “voice communications” during a flight.

Richard Westcott, Transport Correspondent for BBC feels that technology, and passengers’ attitudes, need to change before we see phone calls during flights.

“First of all, you can’t get a signal at 33,000 feet. Not yet anyway,” Westcott said.

“Secondly, the airlines will need to pay to kit out their planes so that phones and Wi-Fi work. And thirdly, there are the passengers.

“British Airways, for example, already has a business-class-only flight from London to New York that lets passengers use Wi-Fi and send texts.

“But they block voice-calls, because whenever they survey passengers, most baulk at the idea of everyone around them talking on the phone during a flight.”

Although phone calls on flights look unlikely in the immediate future, Wi-Fi on planes is starting to be introduced by airlines. Only a handful of airlines currently offer free inflight Wi-Fi but an increasing amount have announced they will soon be implementing it.

According to World Travel Market 2015 Industry Report, more than half of holidaymakers agree that Wi-Fi should be made available on planes.

There is a grey area that links Wi-Fi and phone calls on planes and that comes in the form of Voice-over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services. VOIP services can be used with apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger or by using FaceTime.

However, most airlines have also banned this including Virgin Atlantic who state: “Using cellular network services (voice or data) during the flight is not currently allowed by the FCC. For the safety and comfort of our guests, VoIP and Video Chat is also prohibited.”

Almost half of holidaymakers, 44%, disagreed with both Wi-Fi on board and the option to make phone calls.

World Travel Market London, Senior Director, Simon Press, said: “Flying is the final sanctuary away from hearing and watching other people on their phones. It is no surprise that both the industry and UK holidaymakers support keeping this status quo.”


About World Travel Market London

WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend four-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.

Almost 51,500 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL – London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM.

WTM London, now in its 36th year, is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals. WTM 2014 will generate around £2.5 billion of travel industry contracts.

WTM London is part of Reed Travel Exhibition’s World Travel Market events, which also includes Arabian Travel Market, World Travel Market Latin America and World Travel Market Africa.

World Travel Market Events

World Travel Market is comprised of the leading leisure travel events in the world; World Travel Market London, WTM Latin America in Sao Paulo, WTM Africa in Cape Town and Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

New events for 2016 are WTM connect Asia and WTM connect China, which join WTM connect Ski and International Golf Travel Market. These unique one-to-one events are targeted at leisure and niche travel markets, allowing exhibitors to exclusively meet with elite hosted buyers.

The World Travel Market events are attended by the global travel and tourism industry’s senior executives to conduct business deals and discover the latest research, insight and opinion.

In 2014, the World Travel Market events facilitated around $7 billion in industry deals from negotiations between the more than 15,000 buyers, 9,500 exhibitors (1,500 main stand holders and 8,000 stand sharers) in attendance of its four events.

WTM is part of Reed travel Exhibitions, the leading events organizer in the travel industry, and is owned by the world’s leading events organiser Reed Exhibitions.

Reed Travel Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry. Its wide-ranging portfolio of events around the globe covers leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, incentives and business travel, as well as golf, ski and spa travel.

RTE, which organises more than 22 events around the world, includes three divisions; World Travel Market, IBTM World and International Luxury Travel Market.

RTE is a business unit of Reed Exhibitions.

About Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organiser, with over 500 events in 43 countries. In 2014 Reed brought together over seven million event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 41 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of the RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries.

World Travel Market brings the travel industry together through world leading events, content and digital tools, that make it easier for you to find personal and business opportunities and do more effective business.

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