Originally Posted by mhgaffney
The article you cite is from 2004 ---
Lots happened between 2001 and 2004.
Not when it comes to the issue at hand. Read up.
Essentially aircraft-based cell phones rain down rf over multiple towers' coverage areas, even ones they're not communicating with. This can cause interference for users of adjacent cells because the towers (that aren't actually handling the airborne call) haven't allocated any space for that frequency use.
Long story short, the airborne calls would generally work just fine, and the only real impact was (theoretically) on people making calls from the ground.
Cell phones have pretty much always worked fine from the air. They were only legally restricted (in the fcc's case) because of the impact that had on everyone else.