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The PJ Tatler

Rick Moran


November 23, 2013 - 3:04 pm

Can you imagine the nightmare? You’re stuck circling an airport waiting to land for an hour and your seatmate is engaged in a necessarily loud and obnoxious conversation. There’s no escape because you’re in a steel tube, hurtling through the skies at 550 MPH.

Please, FCC — make it stop.

The Hill:

While many airline passengers like being able to listen to music or play games on their devices, the idea of being stuck on a plane for hours next to someone carrying on an obnoxious conversation has prompted a dramatic backlash.

One FCC commissioner received hundreds of outraged emails within hours of the announcement, an aide said.

“Playing ‘Words with Friends’ is different than passengers having lengthy, loud ‘conversations with friends’ while in the tight, inescapable confines of an airline passenger cabin,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees the FCC.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, said the issue will “surely be a spirited topic of discussion” at next month’s oversight hearing of the FCC, which is expected to feature testimony from all five FCC commissioners.

“Like most Americans, when I heard the news that the FCC was considering allowing cell phone calls on commercial flights, I was concerned to say the least,” Walden said.

The union for flight attendants also bashed the proposal.

“Flight Attendants, as first responders and the last line of defense in our nation’s aviation system, understand the importance of maintaining a calm cabin environment. Any situation that is loud, divisive, and possibly disruptive is not only unwelcome but also unsafe,” the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said in a statement.

The aide to the FCC commissioner said the backlash appears to have taken the chairman’s office by surprise.

Wheeler has only been on the job for a few weeks, and it seems unlikely that he was looking to pick a political fight over cellphone use on planes.

“I am sure that everyone expected this to be a feel-good, let’s make airline consumers happy, type of an inquiry,” a former FCC official said. “I don’t think anyone was prepared for it to become such a hot news story.”

The former official argued that the FCC should have put more emphasis in its initial announcement on mobile Internet access, instead of allowing the media and the public to focus on the possibility of phone calls.

Call me a curmudgeon, but people with their cell phone glued to their ear — and kids who can’t stop texting long enough to pay the damn clerk and keep the line moving — are the rot eating away at Western civilization. To burden my peace and quiet on an airplane by allowing these barbarians to invade my space with their useless and unnecessary phone calls is a travesty. Those flight attendants are talking about people like me who would very likely reach a breaking point, grab the phone out of the idiot’s hand, and then toss the device out of the window I’ve just broken with the caller’s head.

Let’s nip this idea in the bud and keep the skies friendly — and relatively quiet.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

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All Comments   (7)
All Comments   (7)
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The briefs of the FCC and FAA are functional, not courtesy. If it's safe to use the cellphones and it leaves other communications operations working properly, it's not the business of government to ban cell phone use in flight. It could be the business of the airlines -- as business.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The former official argued that the FCC should have put more emphasis in its initial announcement on mobile Internet access, instead of allowing the media and the public to focus on the possibility of phone calls. "
- - -

So, if I'm reading this right, this former official didn't say that the airlines should DO anything different - just that they shouldn't have let us know what they were planning?

That is about as close as I could come trying to illustrate the type of person who should never be allowed to work in government.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
FCC? Thought it was a call for the FAA to make.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
No, the ban has been in place due to concerns that the cellphone's transmissions might interfere with avionics, and that cellphones operating at altitude would cause problems for the cellular network (they do). This is squarely in the FCC's purview.

The answer to these technical problems is technical - put a small cell site on board so that the passenger's phones operate at very low power. The closer your phone is to the transmitter, the lower the power that is required. The cellular network tells the phone to turn down its power. Within the confines of the plane, your phone will be transmitting just a few milliwatts. Single digits. Thus, the possibility of interference is GREATLY reduced.

I'm not sure the FAA could ban it, as it does not seem to be a safety issue, other than the radio interference concerns, which is the FCC's call.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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