In advance of an FCC public meeting today to discuss a possible rule change that would allow cell phone use on airplanes, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) introduced a bill to keep cell phone users from becoming midair jabbermouths.
The Commercial Flight Courtesy Act would limit cell phone communication to texting and email if the FCC goes through with the rule change.
It wouldn’t affect devices such as iPads and Kindles.
“Keeping phone conversations private on commercial flights may not be enshrined in the Constitution, but it is certainly enshrined in common sense,” Alexander said. “This legislation is about avoiding something nobody wants: nearly 2 million passengers a day, hurtling through space, trapped in 17-inch-wide seats, yapping their innermost thoughts.”
“Flying on a commercial airline—in a confined space, often for many hours—is a unique travel experience that is, candidly, not conducive to numerous passengers talking on cell phones,” said Feinstein, an original co-sponsor on Alexander’s bill. “This bill recognizes the use of cell phones to make calls during flights can be disruptive and irritating to other passengers and would prevent such communications during domestic flights. The bill, however, would not affect the ability to communicate via text and email during a flight.”
Basically, the legislation would keep current regulations in place regarding in-air cell phone chatting.
“When you stop and think about what we hear now in airport lobbies – babbling about last night’s love life, next week’s schedule, arguments with spouses – it’s not hard to see why the FCC shouldn’t allow cell phone conversations on airplanes,” Alexander said. “The solution is simple: text messages, yes; conversations, no.”