Poll: Americans say no to cellphone calls in flight

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

American fliers overwhelmingly don’t want to overhear your business chatter or conversation with your aunt in Albuquerque. A national poll by Quinnipiac University, released Wednesday, found that people oppose allowing cellphone conversations in flight by a 59-30 margin. Even in the 18- to 29-year-old group, opposition was 52–39 percent.

The poll came out a couple of days after Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of  the House transportation committee, said he would push a bill to block the Federal Communications Commission 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.

Some airlines, including Jet Blue, United and Delta, said passengers told them that cellphone use would be an annoyance during flight. Delta Airlines announced that it would not permit their use.

Because Quinnipiac’s big interest in polling comes from the political side, they broke down a non-political issue as they might with polling on support for Obamacare. Though no group likes the idea of cellphone chatting in flight, Republicans are more inclined to allow it than Democrats. Independents support it least of all. More men than women want to use them, liberals are a hair more likely to permit them than conservatives, but moderates are more opposed than either extreme. People who make more money covet phone use more than those who make less, and the older people get, the more opposed they are to having cellphones buzzing while they fly.

Ashley Halsey reports on national and local transportation.
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