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In-flight Cell Ban Advances In Congress 404

Posted by timothy
from the myopia-has-a-new-name dept.
narramissic writes "The awkwardly named Halting Airplane Noise to Give Us Peace (HANG UP) Act was approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on a voice vote Thursday. The bill would make permanent the long-standing ban on in-flight cell phone calls by the FAA and FCC. 'Polls show the public overwhelmingly doesn't want to be subjected to people talking on their cell phones on increasingly over-packed airplanes. However, with Internet access just around the corner on U.S. flights, it won't be long before the ban on voice communications on in-flight planes is lifted,' said Representative Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon who co-sponsored the HANG UP Act in a statement. 'Cash-strapped airlines could end up charging some passengers to use their phones while charging others to sit in a phone-free section of the plane,' he said."
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In-flight Cell Ban Advances In Congress

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  • or perhaps (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:03AM (#24430423)

    They could just let individual air lines react to market forces.

    • Re:or perhaps (Score:5, Insightful)

      by adpsimpson (956630) on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:18AM (#24430515)

      Then individual airlines could have clauses in their ticketing agreements like "Access for Suitably Surveyed Customers to Lousy Overcharged Wireless Networks.

      Seriously, what's the obsession with rediculous names for laws? PATRIOT, PRO-IP, CAN SPAM to name a few. If this law was called, for example, "On board communications act, 2008," I'd have a lot more time to listen to it.

      • Re:or perhaps (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:37AM (#24430629)

        How do you think your voting record would look to the electorate if you voted against the "Protect Our Children from Internet Paedophiles and Terrorists" act? Even if that act was two hundred pages of paying for bridges in Alaska and allowing torture of US civilians without a warrant?

        • Re:or perhaps (Score:4, Insightful)

          by CastrTroy (595695) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:40AM (#24432373) Homepage
          I'm not sure how things work in the united states, but it seems like up here in Canada, when they table a bill, it contains only relevant stuff so that the members of parliament, and the citizens, at least have a way of figuring out what's in the bill. Shouldn't it be against the law, or at least greatly frowned upon, to include a whole bunch of completely unrelated issues in a single bill?
        • Re:or perhaps (Score:4, Insightful)

          by SpiderClan (1195655) on Friday August 01, 2008 @11:02AM (#24433979) Journal

          The best bet to avoid that is to vote for the "Stop tacking unrelated shit onto legislation" act, which everyone should vote for, anyway, since the current way things are done is just dumb.

      • Seriously, what's the obsession with rediculous names for laws?

        I was thinking about this recently after another story roused me into digging up the NET (No Electronic Theft) Act.

        Turns out that while the contents of the bill end up integrated into the USC [wikipedia.org] the title of the bill does not. So, at a minimum, congress can apparently use any stupid ass name they want without risking it becoming part of the official law. (That doesn't stop it from being documented in historical records of congress in the archives though, but only historians care about that.)

      • by mrops (927562)
        totally off topic, but your qoute reminds me of a story

        Is crushing a suspect's child's testicles illegal?
        John Yoo: "No, [if] the President thinks he needs to do that."

        Prisoner 650, missing since 2003 with her 3 children [metblogs.com]

      • Re:or perhaps (Score:4, Insightful)

        by springbox (853816) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:59AM (#24432705)
        Because thinking of a backronym is the most important part of making a law
    • re:or perhaps (Score:5, Informative)

      by dnwq (910646) on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:41AM (#24430655)
      They thought of that -

      "The free market wasnâ(TM)t adequate to regulate smoking on planes and it wonâ(TM)t be sufficient to regulate cell phones either," DeFazio said. "I am pleased that we are taking steps to stop this disruption before it becomes an issue for American consumers."

      • Re:or perhaps (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sapphire wyvern (1153271) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:09AM (#24430875)

        What.

        They really think that use of cellphones is on the same level as stopping a known carcinogen from cycling through the air of every one on board?

        Good grief.

        • One (smoking) is hazardous to the health of everyone on the plan, while the other (cellphone use) is mostly hazardous to the asshat who is yelling into his phone about his golf game yesterday. I say it's hazardous to his health because if I am sitting next to him I am going to shove his phone into whichever of his bodily orifices I can fit it into nice and snugly.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fortyonejb (1116789)
          Having to listen to the 17 year old twit of a cheerleader next to me rambling on about her boyfriend and who he was or was not talking to at last weekends party would be much, MUCH more dangerous to my and her health than if she was smoking. I'm just sayin' is all...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Main Gauche (881147)

      "They could just let individual air lines react to market forces."

      Or maybe at least a few politicians realize that, if airlines can so openly collude on prices, they can probably collude on any other policies that generates the most revenue.

      You would agree that a monopoly airline would not have to react to "market forces" right? They could make whatever rules (e.g. charge for cell phone access) earn them the most revenues. Well what makes you think that a mere handful of collusive airlines acts much diffe

  • Good! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Fungus King (860489) <mjlacey&gmail,com> on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:10AM (#24430455)

    Why do people need to use their phones in-flight anyway? I can understand the need for communication for people travelling on business to keep in touch with their office, but what's wrong with e-mail? A large number of people find flying an uncomfortable/annoying/stressful etc experience as it is without having to hear people talk over everyone else so someone elsewhere can hear them. I know the modern world is fast-paced, but honestly, it can wait, can't it?!

    • Re:Good! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:17AM (#24430497)

      Did you ever try explaining to your boss how to use email on a foreign network?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Fear the Clam (230933)

        Did you ever try explaining to your boss how to use email on a foreign network?

        +1 Insightful, been there, got the tee-shirt, and chewed through it in frustration

      • by aj50 (789101)

        VPN Go!

        To be fair, my boss is technically very competent so I've never had the problem of explaining something like this but I've never seen an easier way to use local stuff remotely.

        At work, plug in, open outlook.
        Away from work, plug in, run OpenVPN, open outlook.

        Sorted.

    • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bwalling (195998) on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:40AM (#24430643) Homepage
      While a majority may wish to have no cell phones on airplanes, it is no business of the government to pass a law regarding such a thing. If there were safety concerns, they could enter a say in the matter, but they have no business passing laws over a perceived desire for less chatter. This would get slammed in a court, so why should they even bother wasting our time and tax dollars?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Ngarrang (1023425)

        While a majority may wish to have no cell phones on airplanes...

        The majority is ruling, and complaining, about a minority that is making itself so obnoxious as to border on rude. If these cell phone talkers had any sense of respect of others and would turn off their digital leash for the flight, we wouldn't have this problem. But, noooo, we get hear all about Aunt Edna's colonoscopy and your cousin Fred's erectile dysfunction problem.

        • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Shakrai (717556) * on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:06AM (#24431781) Journal

          The majority is ruling, and complaining, about a minority that is making itself so obnoxious as to border on rude. If these cell phone talkers had any sense of respect of others and would turn off their digital leash for the flight, we wouldn't have this problem. But, noooo, we get hear all about Aunt Edna's colonoscopy and your cousin Fred's erectile dysfunction problem.

          Then wouldn't it be more logical for the airline to ask that person to desist from the obnoxious conversation then to get Congress to ban the usage of something that most people are quite capable of using without annoying those around them?

          • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Ngarrang (1023425) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:10AM (#24431849) Journal

            Then wouldn't it be more logical for the airline to ask that person to desist from the obnoxious conversation then to get Congress to ban the usage of something that most people are quite capable of using without annoying those around them?

            Next time a cell phone talker lights up their phone next to you on a bus, the street, anywhere...ask them in a pleasant voice to stop talking on the phone, it is causing noise pollution. Let me know the response you get.

            The last time I did just that, using words like 'please' and a pleasant tone of voice got me a look that "f--- you" and they kept on talking.

            • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Shakrai (717556) * on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:15AM (#24431947) Journal

              Next time a cell phone talker lights up their phone next to you on a bus, the street, anywhere...ask them in a pleasant voice to stop talking on the phone, it is causing noise pollution. Let me know the response you get.

              The last time I did just that, using words like 'please' and a pleasant tone of voice got me a look that "f--- you" and they kept on talking.

              You don't have a right to complain about it on the street as the street is a public place the last time I checked. On the bus or airplane you can complain to the driver or flight attendant. If they refuse to do anything about it then next time fly/ride on a carrier that does.

              In short let the marketplace decide and don't turn to the Government to outlaw something that's merely annoying and not actually dangerous or harmful. I don't know about you but I'm getting pretty tired of the nanny state.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by JesseMcDonald (536341)

              In this case, however, any directions from the flight crew already have the force of law. If the airline simply made it a policy not to allow cell phone use it would be just as legally binding as an act of Congress, while retaining far greater flexibility -- for example, the airline could separate the cell phone users into their own section so as not to bother the rest of the passengers, as suggested in the summary.

              This is similar to the concept of preferring municipal or state laws over federal ones for lo

          • Re:Good! (Score:5, Funny)

            by Grey_14 (570901) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:15AM (#24431935) Homepage
            mm, Now that's a no-fly list I could get behind: "I'm sorry sir, you can't board this plane as apparently you are a registered ass-hat"

            in b4 all the obvious jokes about ass-searching (Wait what forum is this again?)
          • Re:Good! (Score:4, Interesting)

            by n3tcat (664243) on Friday August 01, 2008 @11:12AM (#24434143) Homepage
            So you're fundamentally opposed to the laws regarding "disturbing the peace" then eh?
        • ...making itself so obnoxious as to border on rude.

          Living in freedom includes other peoples right to be obnoxious, as long as they don't force you to be near them while they are. And NO, voluntarily flying around in airplanes is not being forced to anything.

          By the way, you premise is wrong. If the majority had such a big problem with people talking on airplanes, airlines would offer talk-free sections, or even talk-free flights, in order to attract more of the silent fliers.

          Outlawing discomfort is a slide t

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by johnlcallaway (165670)

          What a bullshit answer. The majority has no right to tell the minority what to do *if it doesn't affect their health or safety*. What you are saying is that if the majority wanted to, they could outlaw soapbox protesters also, simply because they are rude and obnoxious.

          What people are really pissed about is that they can't eavesdrop on both sides of the conversation most of the time. Not everyone talks on the cell phone above the levels of a normal conversation.

          What's next, outlawing crying babies?? Or mot

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Clever7Devil (985356)

          Where is this "majority" concept coming from? Now given, I'm your average /. junkie reading comments on his phone, so no, I didn't RTFA. Is there some survey results in there showing that more people want no cell use on planes than do?

          Does anyone believe that in today's society a majority of people wouldn't use their phones given the chance?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MacDork (560499)

          The majority is ruling, and complaining, about a minority that is making itself so obnoxious as to border on rude

          When the airlines cease operations, I'll sure be glad we have that HANG UP act to make everything better. I'm glad that with the documented illegal torture and sexual abuse of prisoners, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 20% in the past year, massive inflation, job losses, and unprecedented foreclosure rates in some areas.... I'm really glad that congress can be trusted to tackle the real issues facing America today. The HANG UP act certainly ranks right up there with

          1. S.RES.440: A res
      • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Fungus King (860489) <mjlacey&gmail,com> on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:04AM (#24430839)

        Personally I think it's the business of the government to protect the interests of the majority... maybe... I'll have to think about that a bit more.

        Anyway. I'm English and there might be a different majority opinion in this country compared to the US (where I'd expect a more 'it's our right to use our phones on the plane'-type stance)... my personal opinion is that using a phone in a situation where you have to raise your voice significantly to be heard above the ambient noise - and subsequently by everyone else - is pretty rude - which is why I wouldn't inflict my conversation on anyone else (unless it's absolutely necessary, but it's hard to conceive of a situation where that might be the case).

        Perhaps it's a bit like the smoking ban in this country - most people don't want to breathe the smoke of others, the majority are happy about the ban, but there's a loud collection of unhappy smokers (obviously). To be honest they can moan all they want, it's not like the government's confiscated their cigarettes!

        • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jeremyp (130771) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:47AM (#24431463) Homepage Journal

          I'm English too, but I disagree with you.

          The government has no business legislating against rudeness. Talking loudly on a mobile phone is obnoxious and rude, but so is talking loudly. Are you going to make that illegal? What about listening to MP3 players? Or queue jumping? Or picking your nose? Or farting?

          Smoking in an enclosed space is obnoxious and rude, but it is also harmful. That's why it is banned in the workplace in the UK.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jcrousedotcom (999175)
        You hit the nail on the head - but they have proven many times [washingtonpost.com] that they really don't care about what is really important. They are too worried that someone might be using steroids to hit one more home run.

        I am not really sure how things like this cell phone ban, steroid use or a hundred other things I could talk about that they focus on become agenda - it appears to me that the gov't is trying to accomplish two things:

        1. Power. The power that congress has has been a little unchecked and is abused
        • Eh? The government is by the people, for the people. If a cellphone ban is representative of anything, it's representative of a FUNCTIONING system. The government types sit up in first-class or have jets chartered. This cellphone thing means nothing to them. The majority wanted it made law to not allow smoking in many states if the business serves food, and shockingly it happened! I don't smoke personally nor really agree with say my own state's law (Nevada) where you can't even smoke in bars if they have f
      • This would get slammed in a court, so why should they even bother wasting our time and tax dollars?

        How is it unconstitutional?

        I regretfully agree with the posters here saying this is outside reasonable bounds of congressional interest, but at the same time I'm glad they're doing it. Otherwise, airlines would allow cell use despite the majority of passengers being against it. Allowing it is likely to piss off the other customers, but they know from experience that making customers angry doesn't hurt them. At the same time, it may get them a small number of new repeat customers (morons will spend 90% of

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LukeWebber (117950)

      Perhaps because there's not a lot else to do. Seriously, you're stuck in a cramped airline seat. Why not catch up on your calls? As long as you're not swearing and/or speaking over-loudly, what's the big deal?

      I know how this sort of movement takes root. You hear some loud wanker mouthing off all through a two-hour flight and you think "those things should be banned". You forget about the times you've taken a call from your daughter, quietly cleared up a little problem and rung off. Mobile phones are a part

      • by Grey_14 (570901)

        That's probably true of anything, There are always people who will take ANYTHING and make it annoying, everyone just happens to have a cell phone nowadays so people who would have been idiots with overly loud mp3 players, portable dvd players, asking you every other word on a crossword, etc. just have a more common thing to annoy people with, I don't really think any of those things should be banned by the government.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by adpsimpson (956630)

      I totally agree with you - I hate overuse of mobile phones (ok, I'm British) in public places.

      However, I own a mobile phone, and at times I've been known to use it. In a public place. Maybe even on a bus or train. And I might even start by saying "I'm on the train..." And this may be more convenient than other methods - it's the only way I have of communicating from, eg, an airport or a bus-stop, it's instant, it's voice communication, it's reasonably cheap, it takes no setup, etc etc.

      Making them illegal in

    • by Albanach (527650)

      What if you support the email server and it's down? There must be thousands of small firms that employ a single geek. Or those with no IT staff at all, where one member of staff with other responsibilities gets their hands dirty.

      • Seriously? The plane will land in a few hours. If your too important to be disconnected for that long, you need to send someone less important, and do a reality check. It's all about choices. People on international flights need not be making calls especially. Those 10+ hour flights have 1/3-1/2 the passengers sleeping at any given time. Those sleeping passengers will happily show the first person who makes a voice call to some fresher air the moment you start up a conversation on Skype. CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW
  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:10AM (#24430459)

    If people really don't want to be bothered by cellphones then the airlines could just ban people from using them on the plane and use this as a selling point.
    Why does the government have to poke at this one?

    • by v1 (525388) on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:41AM (#24430659) Homepage Journal

      Because too many people don't think they can survive without their cell phone. One friend I invited over for some LAN gaming, his cell phone kept ringing while we played. Next time we played, I insisted he turn it off. "What happens if there's an emergency? What if my brother's been in a car accident?" "I don't know, are you a surgeon and do you have a chopper standing by in my back yard? Shut it off."

      He still snuck it back on a little bit later and got TWO more calls during the game. (didn't answer them, but stopped playing a few sec each time to look at the caller ID) Some people need to learn to live without a cell phone occasionally. For a few though I think it borders on addiction, "I can quit anytime, just not right now."

    • by gk4 (547670)
      I agree that we don't need a nanny government to prohibit us from talking on a mobile phone during flight; however, I believe it is poor etiquette to use a phone on any public transportation. Instead they can text, email, or instant message without bothering anyone else. :-) In short, let the airline / market control it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:10AM (#24430463)

    Think of the children!

    No seriously, think about shutting up the fucking children. At least people on phones don't squeal for no reason. Normally.

    • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:18AM (#24430503)

      No seriously, think about shutting up the fucking children. At least people on phones don't squeal for no reason.

      I never travel without ear plugs and a black-out mask. Or is that the alcohol... But seriously, kids travel. Plan ahead for your sanity.

      • by Svartalf (2997)

        Noise canceling headphones and an MP3 player...oh, perhaps not, the DHS might confiscate that...

        Heh...perhaps the booze isn't a bad idea after all... >:-)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Drogo007 (923906)

        last time I travelled with children (18 month old twins) I brought along a bottle of earplugs with enough for almost the entire plane to pass around - just in case I couldn't keep them reasonably quiet.

    • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:22AM (#24430539)

      I can get behind this 100%.
      Nothing like a screaming infant with an apathetic mother on a 4 hour bus ride with a 5 year old running around trying to break things and being ignored.
      Seriously, if you can't take care of them don't procreate.

      By the end of it all I could think of was that poster with "Silence is golden.Duct tape is silver."

      • by hummassa (157160)

        that will probably never procreate. :-)

        Let me draw this picture for you: kids are randomly noisy. There is absolutely nothing parents can do about kids' noise when they are up to it. Even a duck-tape-on-the-mouth kid makes a lot of noise. :-)

        If you have some smart answer in the form of "if you do X, the kid will stay put", let me give you the news: it will not work. Kids only stay quiet... if they "want" to.

        • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

          by HungryHobo (1314109)

          Said like someone who has procreated and doesn't control their kids.

          Regular beatings.
          Sound triggered shock collars.
          Wanna bet on how many shocks before they're quiet as mice?

          On a less brutal note try some regular fucking discipline.
          My sister somehow manages to raise 2 extremely well mannered children without ever raising a hand to them. I was surprised how much power "the naughty step" had over a pair of 3 year olds. In short she doesn't give in and let them be little brats like some parents do. If they're b

          • by Shakrai (717556) *

            On a less brutal note try some regular fucking discipline.

            Just what kind of "regular fucking discipline" do you purpose to use on an infant? The GP was talking about the screaming infant not the obnoxious three year old. Newsflash: babies cry. Exactly what kind of "discipline" do you purpose to use on an infant that's making noise?

        • by Farmer Tim (530755) <roundfile.mindless@com> on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:16AM (#24430949) Journal

          Even a duck-tape-on-the-mouth kid makes a lot of noise.

          Cover the nostrils too. Then the noise stops after a minute or so.

      • Shit, try being on an international flight with fuckwits who bring their kids who are under 4 on the plane. Bringing these little kids on a plane due to the pressurization & depressurization is borderline child-abuse in my mind. Kids that young just don't understand why their ears hurt, and thus they scram their heads off continually. This is specially a problem on international flights. If you can afford to leave the country, HIRE A BABYSITTER!!!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by deraj123 (1225722)

      Troll?? If the issue is people on planes being annoyed because of other people making noise, then children are right at the top of this list.

  • we've tried to ban them in courtrooms and civic buildings as well as on public buses. I keep wondering why someone talking on a cell-phone bothers us so much?
    is it because we cant see the person on the other end?
    if two people next to me were talking about business on a flight, i would ignore it. why is a cellphone any different?
    • by Zarhan (415465) on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:14AM (#24430487)

      Because for some reason, when two people are talking right next to one another, they tend to whisper or at least talk in low voice.

      For some reason, give someone a cellphone and if they are not downright shouting their voice somehow still seems to carry at least a few rows. You can observe this every day in any bus/train. Even though the other end will definitely hear you even if you talk at low volume.

      • It's more because celphones are often too quiet.
        if I put it on speaker phone I talk normally, if I've got it on normal I talk like a retarded deaf man.
        It's cause if you can't hear the other person clearly because of noise on their end etc then you tend to adjust your voice as you would if you were having trouble hearing someone next to you talking.

        • by ZorinLynx (31751)

          This is because most cel phones don't have sidetone. Sidetone lets you hear yourself on the phone, and was originally invented in the early 1900s (!) just for the purpose of keeping folks from screaming.

          The lack of sidetone on modern cel phones is unacceptable. This is 100 year old technology, damnit!

      • by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:52AM (#24430747) Homepage Journal

        Is it that people talk loudly on cellphones and therefore you notice, or is that that some people talk loudly on cellphones, but people who talk quietly on cellphones don't attract attention, so the only people on cellphones you notice are those that speak loudly?

        I don't buy the "Cellphones make people rude and loud" claim. I don't get complaints, rude stares, or any other signs my use of my cellphone is causing annoyance but I see others subjected to that treatment when they really are loud and annoying. I have to assume that I, like probably 95% of the population, am simply invisible, because I don't speak loudly into my phone, I keep my conversations in public short, and my cellphone uses vibration to notify me of calls rather than a loud, annoying, ring.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Sax Maniac (88550)
        A land line echoes your voice back into your earpiece, so you speak at a normal volume. My cell phone doesn't, and so the effect is (right or wrong) you feel like you cannot be heard. Most people don't realize this and just shout to get the same level of feedback in their own ears. I know about this effect, yet still, it takes a lot of conscious effort to talk quietly on the cell phone. Cell phone companies could fix this in an instant.
    • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:15AM (#24430491)

      Perhaps there is not in fact anybody on the other end and the person with the phone is just a mental patient who is holding the phone to his head to make it less obvious that it's the voices he's shouting at.
      And you wouldn't want an escaped mental patient walking around now would you!
      I mean think of the CHILDREN! They might get killed and eaten by insane people!

      good thing they're bringing in this law.

      • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:37AM (#24430627) Homepage Journal

        the person with the phone is just a mental patient

        When I took Psych 1001, our lecturer told us a story of a patient in NYC with a history of talking to the voices in his/her head. Patient (not of said lecturer) went to therapist for help with said voices. Patient was otherwise "normal", had traditional job, paid bills, lived independently, etc... But of course had a hard time fitting in while talking to voices.

        Therapist suggested patient buy a used cell phone, and talk into phone (without turning it on or calling anyone) whenever the need arose to talk to the voices. It worked well, since of course society generally considers it normal to talk into cell phones.

        Except the patient was also using it on the subway, where signals are apparently very hard to get. Other passengers asked the patient what service he/she was using that had usable signal down there.

    • Maybe its because, for the most part, if both parties are in a public place they tend not to talk about shit that shouldn't be aired in public. I mean I really don't want to be stuck in a plane listening to you chat with your doctor and friends about that STD you just caught(I have actually heard conversations to this affect).
    • Yes, with this law, it will be perfectly legal to hold a brick to your ear and talk loudly to it. If what bothers people is noise, ban noise. Don't just arbitrarily ban one of the causes of the noise.

      I swear honest to god, that if this gets through, I'm going to take a fake mobile phone and talk to it, with some musical parts, all the way from NY to LA.
    • by itsdapead (734413)

      we've tried to ban them in courtrooms and civic buildings as well as on public buses. I keep wondering why someone talking on a cell-phone bothers us so much?

      Its nothing to do with the cell phone. Many people simply enjoy the sound of their own voice so much that, as soon as they get into a conversation they lose all awareness of their surroundings, including any regard for people trying to (a) serve them or tell them something important (b) get some coffee from the jug they've been standing in front of holding an empty cup and nattering for 10 minutes, (c) walk through the narrow doorway that they've chosen for their debating chamber or (d) who just want to hea

      • by xaxa (988988)

        In the UK, some train companies purport to have "quiet" carriages with no phones allowed. That would be fine if there was choice involved, i.e. the trains weren't routinely so overcrowded that you grab the first seat you can find and are thankful. It would also be more understandable if they turned off the fricking tannoy in the "quiet" carriages or (as happens in more train-oriented countries in Europe) restricted themselves to announcing the name of the next station without turning it into a 2 minute monologue (no, really, I was planning to leave my belongings on the train and then fall down the gap between the train and the platform...)

        ...and the rest, it's almost as bad as flying, and even more unnecessary. "I'd like to welcome the passengers who've joined us at Bedford to this East Midlands Trains service to Sheffield, calling at Wellingborough, Kettering, Market Harborough, Leicester, Loughborough, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield, and due to arrive in Sheffield at twenty-one thirty-six. First class accommodation is towards the rear of the train in coaches A, B and C, and standard class accommodation is in the front of the train in coac

  • Sure go ahead (Score:4, Insightful)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:16AM (#24430495)
    Cash-strapped airlines could end up charging some passengers to use their phones while charging others to sit in a phone-free section of the plane

    Thereby enabling smarter airlines such as Southwest to take an ever greater market share by not doing stupid things like that.
  • I'm not sure how that would be possible, or make a difference. Considering the tight confines of an airplane (for most US trips), if you have more than 3 people talking on phones at a time they'll likely be shouting soon to hear themselves over the other conversations. At which point everyone who isn't part of those conversations can no longer hear anything but those conversations.

    It should be obvious why passengers prefer other people not use cell phones in flight. There is no way to escape other peoples' calls when you have dozens to hundreds of people stuffed into a flying sardine can.
    • You're right!

      While you're at it, the last time I visited the US I was mildly frustrated at having to wait for a taxi, I was a bit annoyed that the local Starbucks served their coffee slightly on the cool side and I wasn't too amused by some people not holding the door open for me when I was only a few feet behind them.

      Cor blimey, there's some laws needed there! Let's call them FAST TAXIS, HOT COFFEE and OPEN DOORS! Then the world will stand up and listen!!

  • Seriously, this is not something that should ever be legislated about - its a decision to be taken by the individual airlines based on feedback from their customers, not something they should be bound to enforce. What next, body odour legislation?
    • ...its a decision to be taken by the individual airlines based on feedback from their customers, not something they should be bound to enforce.

      Remember when no one cared about smoking bans? Yeah, that was just the tip of the iceburg.
      It gets worse from here on out. Pretty soon you won't be able to grab some in-and-out before your flight, either. Ohshi~ [latimes.com]

      • And laws banning smoking are also something I am against - especially as you say people ignored the voluntary bans, showing that the people were against them...
  • Freedom of speech. Freedom of association. Fucking hell.

  • by Bogtha (906264) on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:41AM (#24430663)

    Polls show the public overwhelmingly doesn't want to be subjected to people talking on their cell phones on increasingly over-packed airplanes.

    It's not the government's job to protect people from mild annoyances. If it's really true that the public "overwhelmingly" dislikes this, then that's a market the airlines can capitalise on. The market should solve this, and if it doesn't, tough.

    What next? The government monitoring the Internet and fining anybody who says LOL U WAT? 'Cause, you know, that irritates me, and apparently I have the right not to be irritated. Next up: passing the Freedom from Arm Rest Theft act.

  • I've got to say (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SirShmoopie (1333857)

    I've pretty much got to the point where apart from international flights I prefer to take the train.

    Ok its slower, but its less crowded, much more comfortable, and the prices compare favourably.

    Maybe I'm just getting old, but the days when I'm willing to be hassled at an airport and crammed in like sardines on an overpriced flight just to get somewhere faster are long since gone. I want a decent seat, a bar I can walk along to, hot food that I don't have to eat from a tiny tray on my lap, and leg room.

    Actua

  • This is the wrong way of going about it. Outlawing cell phones may hurt SMS and email, but it won't outlaw IP telephony or boisterous conversations. Inconsiderate behavior can't be banned by banning a technology. If you don't want people to talk loudly in airplanes, then that's what you need to regulate.

    I think air planes should have quiet sections, sections where no noisy phones, noisy babies, or conversations are permitted. If you make noise in the quiet section, it's no different than any other viola

  • No VoIP (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Oh no, it's Dixie (1332795) on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:54AM (#24430757)

    (1) IN GENERAL- An individual may not engage in voice communications using a mobile communications device in an aircraft during a flight in scheduled passenger interstate air transportation or scheduled passenger intrastate air transportation.

    (2) VOICE COMMUNICATIONS USING A MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS DEVICE-

    `(A) INCLUSIONS- The term `voice communications using a mobile communications device' includes voice communications using--

    `(i) a commercial mobile radio service or other wireless communications device;

    `(ii) a broadband wireless device or other wireless device that transmits data packets using the Internet Protocol or comparable technical standard; or

    `(iii) a device having voice override capability.

    `(B) EXCLUSION- Such term does not include voice communications using a phone installed on an aircraft.

    Looks like no VoIP, folks. However, the wording of this bill leads me to believe that airlines will soon push in-flight calling through the airplane phones.

    • (B) EXCLUSION- Such term does not include voice communications using a phone installed on an aircraft.

      Nice loophole... just put on your bluetooth earpiece for the call and hold the airplane phone handset to your head for looks.

      I smell a lobbyist... Sounds like this bill is really designed to protect the airlines' phone service, by keeping it the exclusive air-land communication medium in-flight?

  • but me calling my loved ones isnt?

    The proposed law proposed still allows talking on a phone installed on an aircraft.

    You can be loud and obnoxious on the phone in the air all you want as long as your willing to pay $6 a minute!

  • by YourExperiment (1081089) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:28AM (#24431177)
    I suggest we are in need of a Free Up Congress to Keep Yammering On but Ultimately Come to Understand their Naming's Terribly Stupid act.
  • Cash-strapped airlines could end up charging some passengers to use their phones while charging others to sit in a phone-free section of the plane

    BZZT! wrong! How about you only charge passengers to use phones and seat THEM in an appropriately equipped area? Don't make this shit opt-out.

    Or naaah, they can just start charging extra now for passengers to not get hit by stewards/stewardesses with fly-swatters. Or maybe for a tiny extra fee, you could be seated in an area where they don't randomly throw pass

  • However I'm not at all opposed to vigilantes addressing the issue on their own.

  • Some airlines (Singapore Airlines and Emirates) already have in flight phone services in every seat. You swipe your credit card and get billed $6US/minute or something equally outrageous. I haven't travelled internationally in a while, but when it is available the phone is intergrated into the remote for the passengers IFE screen.

    If they charge that much, we can assume they will do the same for in flight mobile phone use (or even more; the equipment needs to be paid somehow). OK, they'll probably charge a

  • Why the hell do we need federal legislation to stop people talking on cell phones on planes? Why? There is absolutely NO reason for any federal legislator to be spending any time even THINKING about such farcical laws.

    State legislators could go crazy with it, but it barely affects them.

    Airlines need to take a stand here and tell the federal government that they can govern themselves.

    I don't like to speak of slippery slopes, but what's next? Congress declaring that no one can use laptops on a plane? that no

  • by Quattro Vezina (714892) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:49AM (#24433723) Journal

    I have refused to fly for several years due to increasing security regulations (the last time I was on a plane was in 1999). This is just more of the same.

    I don't want to take the chance my employer will try to make me fly somewhere. Is there somewhere I can apply to have myself irrevocably added to the no-fly list?

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