House panel endorses ban on in-flight cellphone conversations

February 11
Getty images
Getty images

“Tap, don’t talk” seems to be the new slogan for a push in Congress to ban cellphone calls on airplanes.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Tuesday endorsed a bill that would prohibit in-flight cellphone conversations on scheduled domestic flights. The measure, introduced by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and cosponsored by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) would allow exemptions for on-duty flight crew members and federal federal law enforcement personnel “acting in an official capacity.”

“This bill is simple. When it comes to cellphones on planes, tap, don’t talk,” said Shuster, chairman of the committee. “Airplane cabins are by nature noisy, crowded, and confined. In our day-to-day lives, when we find someone’s cellphone call to be too loud, too close, or too personal, we can just walk away. But at 30,000 feet, there’s nowhere else for an airline passenger to go.”

Added DeFazio: “The American public has made it overwhelmingly clear that they do not want to be subjected to annoying cellphone conversations while stuck on an airplane. Today’s passage will help preserve passenger sanity.”

The measure would prohibit phone inflight cellphone calls, but would allow passenger to use their mobile devices to surf the Internet, e-mail and text.

In November, the government proposed allowing passengers to use their cellphones for anything they wanted, including calls. But the proposal immediately unleashed a storm of criticism from travelers, flight attendants and lawmakers. Shuster introduced his bill banning in-flight cellphone conversations in December.

 

Lori Aratani writes about how people live, work and play in the D.C. region for The Post’s Transportation and Development team.
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