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Congress members: ‘No’ to cell phone chats in flight

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Fourteen members of Congress added their voices this week to those who oppose a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision that opened the door to cell phone conversations on planes during flights. In a letter to Federal Aviation Administration chief Michael Huerta, the bipartisan group encouraged him to maintain the ban. Most major airlines say they won’t allow the use even if the government permits it, and flight attendants and pilots also have spoken out against the phone conversations.

Here’s what the 14 members of the House had to say in their letter to Huerta:

“We share the concerns of the flying public and the many professionals in the aviation industry that such a change to the current rules disallowing the use of cell phone voice networks could result in not only a markedly less pleasant flying experience, but a less safe one as well. Allowing passengers to make phone calls while in flight would disrupt the right of consumers to enjoy the quiet comfort of their flight. In addition, we have strong concerns about the effect such a change may have on safety. Simply put, the flying experience in the United States would be forever changed for the worse if voice calls are allowed on flights. We hope that you will consider our concerns and those of the industry’s experienced professionals as you consider how to proceed.”

The letter was signed by House Democrats Michael Capuano (Mass.), Jim Cooper (Tenn.), Peter DeFazio (Ore.), Keith Ellison (Minn.) Allyson Schwartz (Pa.) Steve Cohen (Tenn.), Elizabeth Esty (Conn..), Mark Pocan (Wis.), Eric Swalwell (Calif.), Sam Farr, (Calif.), Raul Grijalva (Az.), Michael Honda (Calif.), and Betty McCollum (Minn.). The two Republicans who signed it were Walter Jones (N.C.) and Thomas Petri (Wis.), who is the former chairman of the aviation subcommittee.