Airplane cellphone calls: Aural torture

(Ralph Lauer/EPA)
Potential aural torture chambers? (Ralph Lauer/European Pressphoto Agency)

Flying public, an unlikely savior brought us a step closer to liberation from the hell that would be in-flight domestic cellphone calls. I’m talking about Congress, specifically the raucous House. With bipartisan spirit, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved legislation Tuesday that would ban such aural torture for everyone except the plane crew and federal law enforcement officials.

We have committee chairman Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) to thank with wild applause for this. His action comes after the Federal Communications Commission proposed late last year and passed last month a rule to allow airlines the ability to permit in-flight calls and texting on domestic routes. And the federal Department of Transportation announced last month that it is looking into a possible rule change and is seeking public comment.

Hey, DOT, here’s an unsolicited public comment: I’m okay with texting. Let one and all clickety-clack from sea to shining sea. But for the love of GOD and all that is holy, please do not give every chatty Cathy and blabber Bruce with a penchant for oversharing and unlimited talk time the power to ruin even further the flying experience.

That comment is also directed at House Speaker John Boehner. According to Politico, Shuster has yet to ask for floor time for a vote. And Jim Billimoria, spokesman for the transportation and infrastructure committee told me via email, “Nothing has been scheduled at this time.” I and the American people Boehner is fond of saying he listens to implore him to let the bill get a vote of the full House. Flying is already miserable. No need to make it hell at 35,000 feet.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.
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