As the Federal Aviation Administrator (FAA) awaits a decision on lifting its ban on in-flight phone calls, Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL - Analyst Report) declared that it will stick to its previous policy of not allowing voice calls on board. Currently, the FAA is seeking a public comment regarding the lifting of ban on making in-flight voice calls.
However, the Transportation department is considering banning calls as it believes that customers will only be impaired by the decision. Following in the footsteps of the transportation department, mega U.S. airline Delta argued that based on its customer research it has concluded that frequent flyers do not prefer on-board voice or VoIP (voice over IP) calls.
The passengers feel that instead of enriching customer experience it will be a distraction for them. The on-board employees of Delta are also against the allowance of voice calls in flights. However, Atlanta-based Delta has said that it will allow passengers the other means of communication like text and email.
Rival JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU - Analyst Report) was one of the first carriers in the U.S. to allow in-flight voice calls to passengers, but had to revoke its policy following customer backlash over banning of voice calls in flights.
Recently, the FAA allowed using personal gadgets like tablets and smartphones below 10,000 feet, which necessarily allows use of Wi-Fi during the entire trip. The regulatory body claimed that radio signals do not pose threats to aircraft safety. Carriers like Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV - Analyst Report) quickly pounced on the opportunity and allowed gate-to-gate Wi-Fi service, which necessarily means that passengers can stay connected on their portable electronic devices, during the course of the trip.
We see this as a wise move by Delta to enhance customer service, which is vital for airline carriers. On the flip side, passengers on board may feel deprived as they will not get an opportunity to even make an emergency call.
Delta, which operates with United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL - Analyst Report) carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).