The U.S. government is getting closer to its final word on whether to allow cellphone calls on airplanes. And that word appears to be "no."
Data yes, phone calls no.
It's unclear on which basis this decision would be made.
You can arguably already do a call with on-board wifi, using services like Skype or Google Hangouts (though Wifi providers like Gogo restrict the use in the US). Current wifi bandwidth limits the widespread use of data calls and price does the rest for international flights (have you seen the per-minute tariff on those seat handsets?), but technology is a deflation game and those limits are bound to disappear.
Requiring the full attention of passengers is another argument, but anything from a newspaper to Angry Birds is rendering it moot.
Interferences with the navigation system? It would look ludicrous after the loosening of the rules covering the use of electronic devices on-board.
Let's face it, the remaining argument is that having passengers yap for an entire flight is simply annoying.
It appears that most US airlines, like Delta, SouthWest or Virgin America (and flight attendants alike) agree. But, then, why not let them decide?
I'm personally not a big fan of having a fellow passenger shout for the entire flight (especially with newer less noisy aircrafts like the A380), though the following seems quite reasonable:
some carriers may want to explore passenger-friendly ways to introduce calls, such as in-flight phone booths or quiet zones.