Bill would ban cellphone conversations in flight

(Charles Dharapak/AP)
(Charles Dharapak/AP)

Cellphone use by airline passengers while in flight would be banned under a bill to be considered by Congress.

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), who chairs the House transportation committee, would block the Federal Communications from allowing cellphone use in flight. The FCC in October relaxed its restrictions on use of electronic devices and announced that it planned to review the long-standing ban on phone use by fliers.

Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) plans to introduce a bill today prohibiting in-flight cellphone voice communications on commercial aviation flights.

“For passengers, being able to use their phones and tablets to get online or send text messages is a useful in-flight option. But if passengers are going to be forced to listen to the gossip in the aisle seat, it’s going to make for a very long flight,” Shuster said. “For those few hours in the air with 150 other people, it’s just common sense that we all keep our personal lives to ourselves and stay off the phone.”

Shuster’s bill would prohibit passengers from conducting telephone conversations during the in-flight portion of any scheduled domestic commercial flight. Flight crew, flight attendants and on-duty federal law enforcement personnel would be exempt from the ban.

Several airlines, including Jet Blue, United and Delta, said they heard from passengers who were worried that cellphone use would be an annoyance during flight. Delta subsequently announced that they would not permit their use.

Ashley Halsey reports on national and local transportation.
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