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In-flight Cell Ban Advances In Congress 404

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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  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:10AM (#24430465) Homepage
    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?
  • Satphone (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:12AM (#24430471)

    You could always bring a satellite phone with you, apparently Iridium phones work well on planes. and since its not a common "cell phone" its unlikely to be covered by the ban.

    beside calling on it is so expensive you won't stay on it long enough to annoy anyone.

  • Private pilot (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:35AM (#24430615)

    I was a private pilot and an still Amateur radio operator, I used radio transceivers in my airplane Don't fly anymore too expensive
    A cellphone is a UHF/microwave radio transceiver ,
    The Cellphone makes my VOR VHF .ominrange navigational system spin like a Top so I know that cellphone radio frequencies can interfere with aircraft navigation
    Also ,I learned that my cellphone is Never off ! It was turned off and still interfering with the aircraft navigation . This time it caused my transponder to report the wrong altitude to air traffic control ,they replied Check your transponder it's reported wrong altitude , had me falsely at 45,000 feet while flying at 2500 Ft! ,I had to remove the battery,from e cellphone to turn it off and the aircraft transponder began working again
    Not only should cellphone not be allowed on aircraft THe FAA needs to know that some/ many transmit even when off for various reasons , so the batteries should also be removed , Personally, I Would want them confiscated at the airport as Off in too manycses is not really Off . I see firsthand the harm they can do
    the FAA needs to make an FCC rule /law OFF must mean OFF cant transmit
      , I know they do this for police wiretaps \ if they want a wiretap on a cellphone
    the Cellphone company or police can command the microphone and or camera on even when the phone is off
    Don't believe it Huh?
    Your cellphone carrier can update all of your cellphones firmware whether on or off, if oyu think they cant turn on the microphone and listen as well, your living in dreamworld ,

  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <> 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.

  • 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."

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

    by SirShmoopie ( 1333857 ) on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:46AM (#24430699)

    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.

    Actually, I say slower, but sometimes, given delays and cancellations on flights, the train has been faster.

  • 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.


    `(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.

  • by mikkelm ( 1000451 ) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:18AM (#24430995)

    IIRC, there was plenty of demand on the planes that had them, but not enough overall demand from airlines for the Connexion by Boeing system it ran on. It was an excellent system, and I saw many people with their laptops out browsing webpages on the Connexion flights I found myself on.

  • Re:or perhaps (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:51AM (#24432573)

    US Politics is quite unique in its widespread acceptance of completely unrelated amendments being appended to bills. It is on rare occasions useful but most countries either expressely dissallow it to help prevent corruption or frown upon it in all but those rare occasions.

    I'm reminded of the Simpsons episode where they go to Wasington D.C., noticing the bill with their unrelated amendment paperclipped the speaker proclaims "oh well, it's paperclipped."

  • by Sax Maniac ( 88550 ) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:10AM (#24432939) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • Re:Good! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <<moc.xobreven> ... .vidavsxd54sals>> on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:32AM (#24433401) Homepage

    Which is possibly a good reason to ban the operation of cell phones in the situations you list, but hardly a logical reason to ban them on airplanes, where people failing to pay attention is not a concern.

    However, people failing to pay attention to their surroundings because they are idiots is just a modern problem of life. The other day, I could not get out of the grocery store with my shopping cart because some moron was standing in front of the door and talking to someone else. I actually had to interrupt them and ask them to not stand in such an obviously stupid place to stand.

    I don't know if I've been become more aware of this, or if people have actually become less observant, but it's the sort of crap that really pisses me off and seems to be happening more and more...people just being stupid and inconveniencing others for no reason at.

    Such behavior is more destructive than people inconveniencing others for their own gain. If it's for their own gain, we can, and do, structure society so that they actually gain little from that behavior. In extreme cases they are arrested.

    If it's not for any reason at all, but simply because they are fucking stupid, we can't 'discourage' the behavior in any way, as they are not aware they are doing it.

  • 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?

  • Re:Good! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by n3tcat ( 664243 ) on Friday August 01, 2008 @11:12AM (#24434143)
    So you're fundamentally opposed to the laws regarding "disturbing the peace" then eh?
  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MacDork ( 560499 ) on Friday August 01, 2008 @11:22AM (#24434299) Journal

    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 resolution recognizing soil as an essential natural resource, and soils professionals as playing a critical role in managing our Nation's soil resources.
    2. S.RES.262: A resolution designating July 2007 as "National Watermelon Month".
    3. H.RES.216: Congratulating the men's volleyball team of the University of California, Irvine, for winning the 2007 NCAA Division I Men's Volleyball National Championship.
    4. S.RES.180: A resolution recognizing the 70th anniversary of the Idaho Potato Commission and designating May 2007 as "Idaho Potato Month".
    5. H.RES.630: Congratulating the Warner Robins Little League Baseball Team from Warner Robins, Georgia, on winning the 2007 Little League World Series Championship.
    6. H.RES.970: Expressing support for designation of June 30 as "National Corvette Day".
    7. H.RES.1050: Recognizing Pittsfield, Massachusetts, as being home to the earliest known reference to the word "baseball" in the United States as well as being the birthplace of college baseball.
    8. H.RES.89: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that a day should be established as Dutch-American Friendship Day to celebrate the historic ties of the United States and the Netherlands.
    9. H.RES.892: Expressing support for designation of a "National Funeral Director and Mortician Recognition Day".
    10. H.RES.483: Recognizing the 63rd Anniversary of Big Bend National Park, established on June 12, 1944.

The person who can smile when something goes wrong has thought of someone to blame it on.