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House Committee Approves Bill Banning In-Flight Phone Calls 366

An anonymous reader tips news that the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has approved a bill that would ban voice calls from mobile devices on airplanes. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), now goes to the full House of Representatives for a vote. Similar efforts are underway in the Senate. There was no opposition to Shuster's bill in the House committee, and the FCC received a flood of support for such a measure when they asked for public comment. In an op-ed published Monday, Shuster wrote, "In today’s world, enriched as it is by technology, we are bombarded by data, opinions, and potential distractions. Few limits to this flow of information are necessary, partly because people can typically turn it off, disconnect from it, or go elsewhere if they choose. But in the close confines of an airplane cabin – where passengers will still be able to use their mobile devices for texting, emailing, working, and more – there is no chance to opt out. So for those few hours of flight spent with 150 strangers, we can all wait to make that phone call. It’s just common sense and common courtesy."
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House Committee Approves Bill Banning In-Flight Phone Calls

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  • by Ihlosi ( 895663 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @04:44PM (#46221699)
    Screaming kids? Body odor? Flying with garlic breath?

    Don't you love it when they're legislating "common courtesy"?

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @04:45PM (#46221711) Homepage Journal

    They're so concerned about people making calls, yet they've had airline phones for years.

    And how is it any worse to be trapped on a plane with such idiots than on a bus? At least on a plane you're only stuck with them for a couple hours, not all day on an overland trip.

  • by cowtamer ( 311087 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @04:47PM (#46221735) Journal

    Why must it be a law? Shouldn't airlines be free to implement their "please don't talk other passengers' heads off" policy ?

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @04:49PM (#46221779) Journal

    Next step; pass law forcing airlines to duct tape the mouths of anyone not in first class, you know, for "safety" reasons.

  • by gordo3000 ( 785698 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @04:50PM (#46221787)

    this has little to do with courtesy. You can talk on a phone and not be an ass (use noise canceling headphones, noise canceling microphones, keep your voice down, and talk.

    Much more annoying are the kids on a college or high school trip who feel the need to shout at their friends 5 rows away. When you make it illegal for people to hold conversations at all, I'll get behind this.

  • by Stonefish ( 210962 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @04:52PM (#46221825)

    Ban voice calls on planes, in airport lounges, subways, resturants and cinema. We need legislation so that the state and lawyer can become involved in the enforcement of manners. Also we need laws on the correct position of toilets seats, cutlery positions after meals and the poking and prodding of bodily orrifices in publice places. Conversations on planes should be banned as well as they annoy surrounding passengers as well as children, infants and movies..........Or we could just ensure that airlines provide earplugs on request.

  • by Bartles ( 1198017 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @05:04PM (#46222003)
    I think your cologne is discourteous. We need to make cologne on airplanes illegal. So is your flatulence, let's make that illegal too. Also, your political views, let's make those illegal and not just on airplanes, but you are still free to practice them in your home. For now.
  • by duckintheface ( 710137 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @05:14PM (#46222123)

    If there is a problem with voice calls bothering other people on a plane, why does the airline provide phones built into the seats. How does that differ from me using my cell phone? Oh yeah, I have to pay the airline to use their phone.

    And does this new law ban calls from the airline owed phones? Well, thay ARE voice calls, and the airline phones are moving at 600 MPH so I guess that qualifies them as mobile divices. :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @05:22PM (#46222215)
    You know what is a real problem on planes? SCREAMING BABIES. Solution: ban babies from all public transportation. 'nuff said.
  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @05:33PM (#46222373) Homepage

    Nonsense. There is no First Amendment issue here. You can talk all you want OFF the plane. There are dozens of limitations on talking / speech now that are perfectly valid - the idea behind the first amendment is to prevent the government from muzzling dissent. You can dissent all you want. Just not in the middle of the road. Not in the middle of a theatre. Not on an airplane.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @05:40PM (#46222463) Homepage
    This is as Un-american a bill as you can get.

    Look, I hate and despise people that are rude enough to use a phone on an airplane.

    But when Republicans talk about unwarranted government intrusion on our lives, THIS is what they should mean. Not healthcare, not abortion, not welfare. THIS is exactly the kind of laws that our founders were afraid of.

    We should not be making rude behavior, no matter how rude it is, a crime.

    What is worse, the same effect could have been done in an ethical manner. Simply require that all phone calls be done next to but not in the bathroom. Or, if you want to make it a money maker, pass a law that requires airlines to collect a $5 per minute tax for phone calls made in flight - and allow the airlines to add their own fee on top of that, up to a maximum of $20 per minute.

  • by KingMotley ( 944240 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @06:20PM (#46222857) Journal

    I don't like cell phone use on an airplane any more than the next guy, I also don't feel like it is congresses job nor right to pass such a law. Airplanes are private property, owned by a private company. It should be left to the company to decide whether to allow cell phone usage on the plane or not. I don't understand how this isn't common sense.

  • by Sigmon ( 323109 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @06:59PM (#46223245) Homepage
    Well, I agree that the 1st amendment is not at issue here... but could somebody please explain to me specifically which article or amendment to the constitution grants the U.S. Federal government authority to ban voice telephone calls on a private flight? Yes, I imagine people squawking on their mobile phones the whole flight would be annoying... and not a desirable thing. But I don't see a "Congress shall have the authority to regulate transportation of persons and their in-transit communication methods" clause in the constitution. Is the concept of enumerated powers finally so utterly and completely lost?
  • Re:Talking (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @09:19PM (#46224695)
    The human brain, when hearing one-sided conversation, considers itself to be the missing party. A 2-person conversation can be slept through much more easily than a one-party conversation. The brain will keep trying to process the comments as if aimed at the listener.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.