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The PJ Tatler

Bridget Johnson


December 12, 2013 - 9:20 am

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.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (6)
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Luddites. Imagine what would happen if women had the vote.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why not have Obama make an executive order.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Give terrorists the way to coordinate their operations ? NO WAY !
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I said it on another post somewhere here on PJM, but it bears repeating here:

DiFi is a weird Democrat. She actually makes sense two or three times a year, on average.

I really hate to agree with a leading Democrat, but... On this one, she's right.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I will swap plane seats with DiFi.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not sure I agree with the logic they use and wish we didn't have to do it by law, but agree with the idea of not using cell phones on planes. If they did, it would likely lead to more "air rage" incidents as people get into fights over talking to loud, eavesdropping, etc.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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