Still can’t use VOIP in-flight just as cell phone service

No cell phone calls are allowed on planes, but what if you are using a VOIP service, which is using your flight's wi-fi? That should be fine, right? You might think so, but apparently the answer is still no.

Certainly, it is even worse news when you are informed of that limitation when you are the CEO of a company that has created a smartphone application that enables users to make calls using VOIP.

Skype? No, we are talking about Viber, and the incident ended with Viper’s CEO Talmon Marco being escorted off a Delta Air Lines jet recently.

The CEO used his own app to make a call and text over VoIP through GoGo, the in-flight Wi-Fi service offered by Delta Airlines. He sent a series of tweets related to the incident Tuesday, apparently as the situation was unfolding.

“@Delta @DeltaAssist on a delta flight, trying to use Viber, crew says VoIP is banned by FAA for safety (it’s not). No such issue on United!

The flight attendant gave Marco the wrong reason, saying that it was a flight safety issue, which is of course, incorrect as he was using wi-fi. However, the FAA does note that airlines block the use of in-flight calling using VOIP applications not because of an FAA safety requirement, but because the carriers are “simply responding to the overwhelming majority of their customers, who prefer silent communications to the public nature of VoIP calls.”

@Delta @DeltaAssist crew of DL1204 says they are calling the port authority because I used Viber.. This will be my last Delta flight. Ever.

Can you believe@DeltaAssist is going to call the cops when we land because I used Viber on Gogo inflight wifi?? Nuts..

His final tweets on the matter say he just wanted to test the smartphone app and that he was not arrested.

In a statement to ABC News, a Delta spokesperson said, “The use of any voice application, such as a Web-based VoIP service, is prohibited by the GoGo Terms of Service.

When the plane landed at LaGuardia airport, two Port Authority police officers escorted Marco off the plane, but when he explained his side, the officers released him without further incident.

Marco wants an apology from Delta. Meanwhile, Delta, in a press statement, reiterated that it was Gogo's ToS that were at issue and clarified what could and could not be used on their flights.

“Delta fully supports a ban on cell phone voice transmissions. We are not, however, opponents of in-flight data transmissions provided they do not interfere with flight deck navigational equipment."

Maybe next time, Marco should use instant message (chat).  The Viber app works on iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and even BlackBerry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *