Alexander: Department of Transportation Should Ban Cell Phone Conversations on Airplanes

Says federal rules needed to prohibit cell phone calls on commercial airlines but allow text messaging and other non-voice communication

Posted on August 25, 2014

“Banning in-flight cell phone conversations would bring us one step closer to avoiding something that the two million passengers flying each day do not want: to be trapped by a seatbelt in 17-inch-wide seats thousands of feet above the ground listening to the same thing we hear in airports – arguments with spouses, next week’s schedule, or last night’s love life. Text messages, yes; conversations, no.” – Lamar Alexander

 

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2014 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today called on the U.S. Department of Transportation to propose formal rules that would prohibit cell phone conversations on commercial airline flights, preserving the “last vestige of quiet in our busy skies.”

“I’m glad the Department of Transportation is serious about putting the brakes on a bad idea before it takes flight,” Alexander said. “Banning in-flight cell phone conversations would bring us one step closer to avoiding something that the two million passengers flying each day do not want: to be trapped by a seatbelt in 17-inch-wide seats thousands of feet above the ground listening to the same thing we hear in airports – arguments with spouses, next week’s schedule, or last night’s love life. Text messages, yes; conversations, no.”

The Department of Transportation announced this month it is developing a notice of proposed rulemaking that may ban in-flight voice calls, set to be published in December. Last December, Alexander and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Cali.) introduced the Commercial Flight Courtesy Act, which would prohibit the use of voice communication through cell phones on regularly scheduled commercial airline flights, while allowing the use of cell phones and other approved electronic devices for texting and other electronic communication. The senators also sent a letter in March to the DOT in support of its decision to explore prohibiting voice communications on commercial airlines.

 

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