WVLT Channel 8 TV: Bipartisan legislation proposed to ban cell phone calls on airplanes

Posted on June 30, 2017

U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced bipartisan legislation Tuesday that would require the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to prohibit the use of cell phones for voice calls on airplanes.

"Stop and think about what we hear now in airport lobbies from those who wander around shouting personal details into their phones: babbling about next week's schedule, orders to an assistant, or arguments with spouses," Sen. Alexander said. "Now imagine nearly two million passengers, hurtling through space yapping their innermost thoughts while you travel restrained by your seat belt and unable to escape. Keeping phone conversations off commercial flights may not be enshrined in the Constitution, but sure it is enshrined in common sense."

In December 2013, the FCC began considering a rule that would allow for people to use cell phones for conversations on flights. In April of this year, the FCC chairman terminated this rule.

The legislation, the Commercial Flight Courtesy Act, would allow the use of personal electronic devices such as Kindles and iPads during the flight.

"Passengers chatting on their mobile devices in the small confines of an airplane could make flying even less comfortable," Sen. Markey said. "Passengers should not have to suffer through the conversations of others, and flight crews should not be disrupted while performing their important safety and security duties. I plan to fight for this legislation to be included in the FAA reauthorization bill."