Delta Air Lines said its customer research and direct feedback told them that Delta's frequent flyers believe voice calls in the cabin would be a disruption to the travel experience, prompting Delta's decision to ban voice calls during flights.
In a memo from Delta CEO Richard Anderson to its 80,000 employees worldwide, Anderson said no. "Delta will not allow cellular calls or internet-based voice communications onboard Delta or Delta Connection flights."
Anderson noted last week's U.S. Federal Communications Commission vote to seek public comment in consideration of lifting its ban on in-flight cell phone use.
"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," Anderson said in his memo.
"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," Anderson said.
"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," Anderson said.
Delta's action is expected to spark other airlines to establish policies on in-flight calls.
Recently, the airline also announced expanded service between New York and London as part of its partnership with Virgin Atlantic.