Australian carrier Qantas is planning a three-month trial next year, allowing passengers to use cell phones and handheld devices mid-flight on domestic routes.
In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration prohibits in-flight cell phone use because of potential interference to navigation and aircraft systems. The Federal Communications Commission also bans mid-air cell phone use, due to potential interference to cellular phone networks on the ground.
The FCC is currently seeking public comment on proposals to permit the airborne use of "off the shelf" wireless handsets and other devices. Conditions include that such devices operate at their lowest power setting, linking to a specialised mini-base station onboard the aircraft, and that their use does not interfere with users on the ground.