After the Federal Communications Commission overturned its long-standing ban on phones on planes in December, some passengers have publicly pined for a ban on in-flight cell-phone calls. They may soon get their wish: The Transportation Department announced last week it plans to make the skies a no-call zone.
But the airline industry is pushing back, with carriers saying they deserve the right to set their own phone policies, particularly now that federal authorities say phones won't interfere with planes' instruments.
And in setting those policies, airlines could be on the verge of a cash cow: Given the freedom to find their own solutions, some airlines say they might look at options like phone booths or quiet zones similar to what some railroads currently offer. JetBlue, for instance, is considering a separate area for passengers who want to use their phones.
Other airlines have considered sections similar to the "quiet cars" offered on trains. It's not hard to imagine airlines pitching themselves as "call-free" or "always connected"—with an added charge for each.