Alexander: FCC Chairman Has Earned the Gratitude of the 2 Million Americans Who Fly Each Day

Praises FCC chairman’s support for continuing ban on cellphone calls on planes; Says airplane cabin privacy “may not be enshrined in the Constitution, but surely it is in common sense”

Posted on April 11, 2017

MARYVILLE, April 11, 2017 — U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said the Federal Communications Commission chairman has “earned the gratitude of 2 million Americans who fly” for supporting the ban—in place since 1991—against cellphone calls on planes.

“This announcement by the Chairman of the FCC confirms what Americans already know: that privacy on an airplane may not be enshrined in the Constitution, but surely it is in common sense,” Alexander said.

The chairman’s proposed order is expected to be voted on by the commission shortly.

Alexander and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced legislation to prohibit cell phone conversations on commercial airline flights in December 2013.

“Imagine two million passengers, hurtling through space, trapped in 17-inch-wide seats, yapping their innermost thoughts,” Alexander said then. “The Transportation Security Administration would have to hire three times as many air marshals to deal with the fistfights.”  

He added: “Stop and think about what we hear now in airport lobbies from those who wander around shouting personal details into a microphone: babbling about last night’s love life, bathroom plans, next week’s schedule, orders to an assistant, arguments with spouses. Imagine this noise while you travel, restrained by your seatbelt, unable to escape.”

In March 2014, Alexander and Feinstein also sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation, urging the department to impose a rule prohibiting the use of cell phones for voice communications.