Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey

Poll: 50 Percent Oppose Allowing Cell Phone Calls During Flights


CNN reports today, "The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 Thursday to consider lifting its ban on in-flight cell phone use. On the same day, the federal Department of Transportation and three members of Congress took steps to block those calls."

The latest Reason-Rupe poll finds 45 percent of Americans are in favor of allowing cell phone calls during flights, with 50 percent opposed. This level of support is considerably higher than the AP-GfK and Quinnipiac polls this week. AP-Gfk found 19 percent favor allowing passengers to use their cell phones to make calls on planes, 48 percent oppose, and 30 percent don't have an opinion. Quinnipiac found 30 percent favor and 59 percent oppose such a policy.

However, these questions do not make clear whether Americans want the government to ban their fellow passengers from talking on cell phones during commercial flights, or if they think that decision should be left to the individual airlines. What is clear is that Americans are not enthusiastic about listening to neighboring passengers' cell phone conversations during flights.

Differences in age significantly impact support for a policy change. 56 percent of Americans under 35 favor allowing people make calls on flights while 41 percent are opposed.   In contrast 60 percent of those over 55 years old oppose allowing cell phone calls on flights while 33 percent are in favor.

Slim majorities of Republicans and independents oppose their fellow passengers making cell phone calls, and Democrats are evenly divided. Among Republicans who don't identify as tea party supporters, 57 percent oppose and 39 percent favor allowing cell phone calls on flights, while tea party supporters are evenly divided.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted Dec 4-8 2013 interviewed 1011 adults on both mobile (506) and landline (505) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.7%. Princeton Survey Research Associates International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results, detailed tables, and methodology found here. Sign up for notifications of new releases of the Reason-Rupe poll here.

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  1. I can see allowing periods during the flight when cell phone calls should be permitted, something like 15 minutes after takeoff and maybe 15 minutes before landing. People should probably be awake and alert at those times anyway, and it could be helpful in taking care of details associated with travel – like setting up ground transportation, adjusting schedules and the like. But do I want to hear some airhead yak their way from coast to coast?


  2. This is freaking insane.

    The same agency that gropes you at the airport, confiscates G.I. Joe toy (4″ long) guns, disarms sock monkeys (1″ gun), confiscates lapel pins that depict guns, that steals from your luggage, and fails security tests 50% of the time – should have guns?

    Why not just find the dumbest person on every flight and give them a bomb?

    TSA is security theater. They don’t do anything but make people “feel” better about flying. They don’t stop any terrorists. They don’t prevent any problems. The CREATE all kinds of problems, and waste your time.

    Give TSA guns? That’s insane.

    Much better to just let citizens who carry firearms on the ground carry them on board aircraft as well – and get rid of the TSA.

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