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Senators Propose Bill Prohibiting Phone Calls On Planes

Soulskill posted 1 year,7 days | from the nobody-wants-to-hear-your-conversation dept.

Cellphones 513

SonicSpike writes with news that two U.S. Senators, Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), have proposed legislation to ban cell phone calls while aboard an airplane. This follows a recent announcement from the FAA increasing the range of electronic gadgets travelers can use while flying, and a vote by the FCC to consider allowing phone calls during flight. However, even as those government agencies work to lift regulations on in-flight technology, the Department of Transportation is pondering a in-flight call ban of its own, saying it might not be "fair" to consumers to have to listen to other passengers talk on the phone throughout a long flight. FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said, "If we move beyond what we do here today and actually update our rules to allow voice calls on planes we can see a future where our quiet time is monetized and seating in the silent section comes at a premium."

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what? (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681187)

Are they going to ban them in restaurants next? Movie theaters? What an idiotic premise!

Re:what? (5, Insightful)

H0p313ss (811249) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681251)

Are they going to ban them in restaurants next? Movie theaters?

That would be nice. We already know there's a special hell reserved for those who talk at the theater.

Re:what? (5, Insightful)

Virtucon (127420) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681503)

Yes it's called the Alamo Drafthouse. [youtube.com]

This person is why Cell Phones need to be banned on airplanes in this country. If I had to listen to her talk endlessly on a flight I'd probably look for the nearest emergency exit and throw her out! Yeah, there'd be collateral damage but honestly if a person can't be bothered to not use their phone in a theater what makes you think that they'll be polite on a plane?

Re:what? (0)

necro81 (917438) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681581)

a special hell reserved for those who talk at the theater

+1 for obscure firefly reference [youtube.com] .

Re:what? (5, Insightful)

glavenoid (636808) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681271)

It should be up to the airlines whether or not allowing voice calls would cater to their passengers, but airlines should have leeway on how they enforce their policy, such as being able to forcibly disembark a passenger immediately upon violating a voice-call prohibition.

Re:what? (5, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681335)

Indeed. There is zero reason this needs to be legislated.

This is just congress fucking off instead of doing what they are supposed to be doing, again.

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681525)

Does it count as a mere "fucking off" or is it disrespect to the First Amendment?

http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment [cornell.edu]

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Re:what? (3, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681617)

This is just congress fucking off instead of doing what they are supposed to be doing, again.

Don't worry, the next election will change *everything*! At least, that's what I hear every two years...

Re:what? (3, Insightful)

macbeth66 (204889) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681621)

I'd rather that congress focus on this than on more ways to waste tax dollars. There is a lot to be said for a congress that can't do anything.

Re:what? (5, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681349)

"such as being able to forcibly disembark a passenger immediately upon violating a voice-call prohibition"

I propose an exception - if the violation happens before take-off, they should have to wait until the plane reaches a certain minimum altitude before the forcible disembarkation.

Re:what? (4, Insightful)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681371)

It should be up to the airlines whether or not allowing voice calls would cater to their passengers, but airlines should have leeway on how they enforce their policy, such as being able to forcibly disembark a passenger immediately upon violating a voice-call prohibition.

How dare you let businesses determine their own methods of business. You NEED the government to tell you how to run your business since you suck at running it and some lifetime politician knows more about your business then you do.

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681313)

Are they going to ban them in restaurants next? Movie theaters?

Yes, please.

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681317)

It's possible for me to leave a restaurant that does nothing about disruptive talkers. Same with movie theaters. I cannot walk midflight out of an airplane with disruptive talkers.

Re:what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681455)

It's possible for me to leave a restaurant that does nothing about disruptive talkers. Same with movie theaters. I cannot walk midflight out of an airplane with disruptive talkers.

Replace "talkers" with "crying babies" and your statement is no less true. Shall we ban babies on flights as well?

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681559)

To be fair, the baby does not have the capacity to know it is being rude.

The asshole, on the other hand, could easily figure it out if he/she could managed to be courteous for one second of their somehow extremely self-important life.

Re:what? (1)

Entropius (188861) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681679)

"We", meaning the government, should not give a flying fuck.

"We", meaning the airlines, might be able to charge a premium from seats that put a fair bit of 1/r^2 between them and the babies. But that is their business, and emphatically not Congress'.

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681477)

If they were disruptive enough, you could. (Captcha: unheard)

Re:what? (5, Insightful)

edibobb (113989) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681369)

We should ban talking altogether. Terrorists have been known to use speech in training as well as in the execution of terrorist attacks. Child pornographers and drug cartels are also frequent users of speech.

Re:what? (1)

slartibartfastatp (613727) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681437)

^ THIS
I wish I still had my mod points.

Re:what? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681451)

Welcome to The United States of Intolerance and Knee Jerk Reactions

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681717)

Where's my +1 Truth Mod when needed...?

Re:what? (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681465)

Are they going to ban them in restaurants next? Movie theaters? What an idiotic premise!

In a restaurant, I can ask my waitress to tell you to STFU. If she fails to, I can (and will) walk out.

You already can't use your phone in a movie theater.

Being stuck on a plane for several hours while some sales wanker is on a conference call -- well, let's just say the cabin crew might have to break up a few fights and deal with the fallout of someone who has had enough. After you've won buzz-word bingo for the 3rd time in 15 minutes, it wears thin, and people have already been stressed out by the process of going through the airport.

Mark my words, I bet it would take less than 2 years before the first in-flight murder of a cell phone user or something silly like that. Because the people who feel they can't avoid using their cell phones often have absolutely no awareness of those around them, because they feel whatever they're doing is so important that the rest of us should have to put up with it.

Re:what? (4, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681715)

There is a train line that came up with a novel idea: on part of the train you can use your cellphone, and on part of the train you can't! Gee, what a concept. Maybe we could let the airlines figure this out, rather than having Congress make laws.

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681761)

I bet this is something the airline can decide if it wants to do or not. I bet they probably don't need or *want* the feds telling them they can or cannot...

Re:what? (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681609)

No mod points today. Sorry. Or I'd mod you up on humor. For a sec there you almost had me.

BTW, many higher end restaurants do exactly that. You are expected to take your nonsense to the lobby. Data use seems to be fine.

Re:what? (2)

RivenAleem (1590553) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681703)

A closer analogy would be long distance bus journeys. Why are they not worried about quiet time when you are on a bus for 3 hours?

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681741)

The real solution would be to charge the premium if you want to use your phone in these areas. What the hell is the FCC smoking?

Re:what? (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681759)

Those are private places and can do (almost) whatever they want as far as restrictions go. If you need a coat and tie to get in, they can require it. They require shoes to be worn? So be it.

Planes are the same thing.

It's not YOUR place, it's someone else's place AND it's a communal area. For the sake of sanity, preventing people from talking on the cell phones while on a flight is the very least they can do.

i'll make sure my kids make lots of noise (2)

alen (225700) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681191)

since its ok to talk on a cell phone, ok for my kids to vocalize themselves as well

Re:i'll make sure my kids make lots of noise (1)

C_Kode (102755) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681441)

I will make sure to bring my fog horn on board too!

Re:i'll make sure my kids make lots of noise (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681641)

A small plastic whistle will come in handy...

Re:i'll make sure my kids make lots of noise (1)

malignant_minded (884324) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681745)

Don't they already? Not to sound a jerk but respecting others is the only reason people are expected to not be yelling on a plane. You shouldn't talk on a phone during a movie at the theater and for the most part this is a non issue that society ad hears to out of respect for others. Taking a flight to Miami during spring break will probably not be the quietest flight you have taken simply because most passengers are gearing up to party and they out number the norms of society at that moment. But your other flights are mostly quiet because everyone has pretty much agreed that talking loudly on a plane is rude and therefore don't engage in this behavior. Why should we treat cell phones differently? I would think most people would text anyway.
Kids crying on a plane doesn't really bother me because they are kids. By all means, as a parent please try and have some control over your kids by setting an example on how they should behave but people getting angry at kids whose world is so small and who don't know how to control their feelings and emotions is ridiculous in my opinion. Kids grow up just like we all did, mostly. As a society we will always "suffer" through their growth. I try and push past my annoyance and actually enjoy trying to figure out their behaviors at these times and think back on the stupid things I use to think were such big problems when I was a kid. I'm sure I pissed off plenty of adults in my youth. I am in a public place with tons of people operating on different time zones and I can't really expect kids, teens, and adults to respect my wishes so I need to adjust my outlook on these encounters and prepare for them. /me puts in earbuds.

Re:i'll make sure my kids make lots of noise (1)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681747)

since its ok to talk on a cell phone, ok for my kids to vocalize themselves as well

One of my worst flight experiences involved a several hour long flight out of San Francisco.

Some lady had her annoying lap-dog in one of those little carrier bags. The dog barked incessantly the whole flight. At one point, there was a very real risk that dog was not going to survive the flight, because every passenger on the plane had had enough of it. The cabin crew ended up giving out free drinks to a lot of the other passengers, giving out free headphones, and glaring at the lady with the dog -- if they hadn't appeased the rest of us, I believe there is a high probability someone would have wrung it's neck.

Kids, well, people have kids and there's not much we can do about it. But your barking dog in the plane cabin, it might not make it through alive.

And I predict you might find the same thing happening if someone was on the phone for half the flight. Because it's going to have the effect of REALLY pissing people off.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681211)

What's difference between talking on a phone and talking to someone I am traveling with as far as noise disruption?

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681385)

What's difference between talking on a phone and talking to someone I am traveling with as far as noise disruption?

Because of low (or absent) sidetone on cell phones, people tend to speak much more loudly than they would in a regular conversation. Additionally, if the connection is poor people tend to shout. This is why most people find cell conversations disruptive.

Constitution (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681643)

Please point to the section of the Constitution which you think authorizes federal government to legislate laws for regulating how loudly you are allowed to talk to people. I'm genuinely curious. I'm think this is now a first amendment issue if the FAA determines there is no aircraft safety problem associated with phones.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681661)

> if the connection is poor...

That's the real problem. The carphone companies haven't improved their service in decades. It's still complete crap that you have to yell over to be heard by the other end. Fix the quality of the service, and people will stop yelling. It's the fault of the companies like AT&T and Verizon that refuse to offer decent service that are at fault for the yelling.

Re:Really? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681737)

And throw that into the noisy environment of a plane, and people will talk even loudererer than necessary.

We need some kind of cheap, disposible mouth cowling/bib to muffle voice. Ideally with ear buds.

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

kannibal_klown (531544) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681403)

I don't agree with the bill, but there is a difference to the third-parties.

Firstly, everyone talks louder on the phone. They don't realize it and deny it left-and-right, but they do. Add to that, they will be compensating for the engine noise so it's going to be a lot of "can you hear me, what about now, is that better" So you have increased volume.

Second, you have the issue of "half a conversation" messing with your brain. Hearing another conversation isn't so bad, hearing only HALF the conversation (the guy on the phone) and your brain tries to piece together w t h they're talking about or what the person on the other-end-of-the-phone is saying. It's an automatic thing, so it adds to the annoyance.

Lastly, not too many people talk to their strangers / neighbors for more than a few minutes. Sure people talk, but for the most part people just want to veg out and rest / read / watch the movie / etc. Bring in the phones, and LOTS of people will be talking.

Personally I'm fine with the way planes have been... the talking is at a minimum so I can at least try to get some rest. Instead now you will have people going on and on about mundane stuff.

At least... hopefully the teens and younger will be Texting instead of calling... so I don't have to hear all of the "Oh My Gawd did you see what she was wearing" BS.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681417)

Awesome question!

The current understanding is that because on a cellphone, you're only hearing one side of the conversation it becomes much more distracting - it seems that our minds interpret this 'half-conversation' as someone trying to talk to us and get our attention.

Re:Really? (1)

chispito (1870390) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681725)

You can't see lips and body language on the phone.

What? (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681227)

And that's different from talking with the person next to you how, exactly? If people can't respect basic social manners, they won't respect them regardless of how. If it's not a phone it'll be something else. This is why we have personnel on board the airplanes.

Re:What? (3, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681353)

People do tend to be less considerate of bystanders when making phone calls than when talking to someone who is actually in the room in my experience; you'll see someone who's having a perfectly reasonable conversation with somebody at dinner, then turn away to answer their phone and jump up an order of magnitude in loudness. I think it's the fact that one side of the conversation is private to the other people in the room; it triggers some sort of general "private talk" flag in the brain that makes you automatically and quite unconsciously begin talking as though there was nobody else there.

Re:What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681513)

People do tend to be less considerate of bystanders when making phone calls than when talking to someone who is actually in the room in my experience; you'll see someone who's having a perfectly reasonable conversation with somebody at dinner, then turn away to answer their phone and jump up an order of magnitude in loudness. I think it's the fact that one side of the conversation is private to the other people in the room; it triggers some sort of general "private talk" flag in the brain that makes you automatically and quite unconsciously begin talking as though there was nobody else there.

And this trigger totally fails on planes. Loud conversations are the norm. If the asshole in the seat behind me was talking on a cell phone rather than to his/her neighbor, then at least it would be quiet part of the time.

Re:What? (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681613)

People do tend to be less considerate of bystanders when making phone calls than when talking to someone who is actually in the room in my experience; you'll see someone who's having a perfectly reasonable conversation with somebody at dinner, then turn away to answer their phone and jump up an order of magnitude in loudness. I think it's the fact that one side of the conversation is private to the other people in the room; it triggers some sort of general "private talk" flag in the brain that makes you automatically and quite unconsciously begin talking as though there was nobody else there.

It's because the other person is far away, somehow people's brains think that they have to shout loud enough that the person on the other hand can hear them even without a phone. In reality, phones have some extraordinary good electronics that will pick up the quietest voice and make it well understandable to the receiver of the call.

Re:What? (1)

bws111 (1216812) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681389)

People on cellphones talk louder, for one thing. And hearing only half of a conversation is way more distracting and annoying than hearing both sides.

Re:What? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681517)

And that's different from talking with the person next to you how, exactly?

Go to the part of your office that has the most suits.

Now, listen to the volume of the monkey in the suit when he speaks on the phone, versus the volume of the monkey in the suit when he speaks to people in the room.

In my experience, the suit monkey speaks a lot louder on the phone, and is correspondingly a lot more annoying.

Wait, what? (4, Insightful)

chinton (151403) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681241)

Do they really have nothing more pressing to deal with than legislating common courtesy?

Re:Wait, what? (2)

X0563511 (793323) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681347)

Yes. But they seem hell-bent on not doing it.

Re:Wait, what? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681433)

Yes common courtesy, but there are so f*cking many jerks and morons that have no clue what courtesy is...

Re:Wait, what? (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681569)

What will you do when a drunk manager is shrieking into his phone at his sad minions?

Re:Wait, what? (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681755)

Congress regularly has to regulate what anyone would consider common courtesy.
What do you think the Do Not Call list and the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act are?

Planes have had phones for years (3, Insightful)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681257)

Not cell phones, but there have definitely been phones available. Some planes even had handsets embedded in the back of the headrests.

Also, I have always left my phone on in flights. It doesn't get a signal at altitude, and definitely not over the middle of the ocean. It's really only when you are near takeoff or landing.

Re:Planes have had phones for years (4, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681395)

Not cell phones, but there have definitely been phones available. Some planes even had handsets embedded in the back of the headrests.

And their high cost has moderated their usage. Cell phone usage would be quite different.

Re:Planes have had phones for years (4, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681523)

The cost moderated the usage so much that they're mostly no longer enabled even if they're present. The remaining service will be shutting down completely at the end of this year.

Re:Planes have had phones for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681639)

I was so annoyed by a teenager sitting next to me, texting on her phone during a flight I was on last week, and when I noted that the phone should be in airplane mode, she smugly told me that it was not of my business and that it was.

If cell phone calls are not forbidden on planes, next time I'm boarding one, I will have a cell phone jammer on, and believe me, that will be much worse for the plane.

Best Use of Time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681267)

I can't comprehend how a US Senator would consider this worthy of her/his time.

A plane is no different than a bus (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681287)

If you can make phone calls on a city bus you can make phone calls on a plane.

Re:A plane is no different than a bus (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681751)

and you can still forcibly push the annoying ones out the door!

Just make it expensive... (2)

magic maverick (2615475) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681291)

I've seen plenty of phones on planes before, but I've never seen them used to actually make calls. Probably because they cost a shitload.

So, just have a fair warning to consumers, that each call will cost $10 a minute (via various methods, including text messages to those phones that are turned on). Then, only those people who actually have a pressing need will use the phones in flight. Solves the problem for me.

Moreover, if noise worries you, then get a pair of earplugs. And/or don't fly (the engines are almost always the noisiest thing on airplanes for me).

Re:Just make it expensive... (2)

perpenso (1613749) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681445)

... including text messages to those phones that are turned on ...

I think the point of the legislation is to get people to use text rather than voice, text having near zero impact on your fellow passengers.

Re:Just make it expensive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681709)

I've used the phone built into the back of the seat ahead of me. But only once and without any regard to how much it cost.

That's because the flight I was on (non-stop from Atlanta to Los Angeles) had a fairly impressive engine fire and was heading for an emergency landing in Tulsa. I thought I should say "goodbye" to my fiance - sort of just in case.

But the fire went out before landing and we all got to spend a few hours in the Tulsa airport while another plane was readied to take us on to LA. And in the spirit of excellent customer service, the airline didn't offer to buy us a drink or feed us while we waited.

Good times.

Better yet ... (2)

Old97 (1341297) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681295)

I think a better solution is that once you've achieved cruising altitude that passenger can petition for a vote of all passengers to have specific annoying passengers literally thrown off the planes. No parachute, just a good heave. As annoying cell phone users are - shouting in their phones, etc. - seat kickers, loud drunks, crying babies and others deserve some sort of retribution too.

LOL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681305)

Complaining about other passengers while on the airplane? That's like complaining about the music while you're in the dentist's chair. Or complaining about the decor as you wait for hours at the DMV. In any of these situations, you've got infinitely bigger problems to worry about.

Flying is pure hell, and your primary objective is to bang it out as efficiently as possible. If you aren't expecting the worst, you're in for a world of hurt. Other passengers are the absolute least of your problems.

Free Market??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681315)

What about letting Airlines just decide if they want to allow passengers to use the phones??? Am serious if phones turn out to be too much of a nuisance then the airlines can ban them. Of course, what will probably happen is that they probably ban them in all premium cabins. Including coach plus. Or they could put in a pay by minute noise reducing phone booths.

gasbags make mountains out of molehills (2)

rubycodez (864176) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681327)

quiet time huh? don't fly much?

Fair? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681341)

"Fair" has nothing to do with it. Unless you're talking about FARE.

Let the free market decide whether phone calls on long haul flights are acceptable or not.

Join the conversation (5, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681383)

If the person next to you is talking on the phone just join in. Comment on what they say, ask what the other person said, etc. Someone rude enough to have a phone conversation in a crowd won't catch the sarcasm, but at least you'll annoy them as much as they annoy you.

Already monetized (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681397)

The quiet section is already monetized. It's called "first class", that wonderful place where the screaming of infants and children is reduced to a dull howl.

Umm, no. (1)

C_Kode (102755) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681407)

I commute to and from New York City on a train every day. I've seen fights almost break out from rude people yapping on phones. Allowing phone calls on planes is a very bad idea. Nobody wants to listen to other people yap on a phone during a three hour flight.

People get agitated enough being cramped into small seats with no leg room. Lets just add to the agitation my making the person next to you annoy the hell out of you by yapping on the phone to their friend.

I was for it, but then (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681415)

I was all for this because people talking next to you is annoying, then I saw that Dianne Feinstein was one of the writers. Now I say make as many calls on planes as possible, it probably screws with the NSA databases.

Cell Signal.. (1)

daitengu (172781) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681419)

Is this even feasible? with most flights you're 5-7 miles above the ground. IIRC, cell phone signals radiate mostly parallel to the ground. Can you even get a cell signal in a plane? I don't fly much, and the times I've had I never turned my cellular radio on in my phone.

Re:Cell Signal.. (3, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681467)

Not that way, no. The plan is to give the plane a small mobile cell of its own, connected to the wider network via satellite backhaul.

Totally crazy idea here... (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681427)

How about we respect the fact that the plane is the property of the airline and let them set policy accordingly. I mean holy crap on a cracker Batman, civility will break down because someone is talking (at most likely) conversational volume on a cell phone on a long flight that already has cranky and cramped adults, babies and drunks.

This makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681431)

I'm all for making calls, but I don't want to be sat next to someone on a trans-Atlantic flight and them yammering on about all manner of tripe whilst I'm trying to watch a film or have a bit of quiet.

Alternative: have a bit of space on the plane where one can go to place a call so as not to disturb the people near you. Planes are already terribly crowded, and, having experience people farting, belching, and yammering on for hours across the aisles, anything to keep this from becoming problematic is worth to aggro to the few who would likely abuse it. If one needs to contact someone about being collected upon landing, and one could place a call, one could just as easily text.

Re:This makes sense (1)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681653)

So I guess you'd be equally opposed to allowing a person who was sitting near you to simply be talking casually to the person who was sitting beside them.

It's still a conversation that you're not a part of... you're still being forced to hear it by sole virtue of your proximity to them... or maybe, they should be forced to both get up from their seats and have their conversation further away from you?

Rather than prohibiting cell phones, it would make much more sense to be prohibitive of unnecessarily raising your voice and disturbing other passengers. Oh look, that's already a thing in situations where it gets to be a problem.

Charge $10/minute (5, Funny)

aegl (1041528) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681463)

Airline keeps half. The rest is distributed to the people sitting next to the person making the call.

Distraction Bill (4, Insightful)

Antipater (2053064) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681469)

Both Alexander and Feinstein have issues that they'd rather the media not look at right now. Alexander's chief of staff was just arrested on child porn charges, and Feinstein...I don't think I have to mention, here on /., why people hate Feinstein.

So they've come together with a "you know that thing that people really hate? Let's ban it!" bill meant to get their names in the headlines next to something they think people will like. It's just a stunt. Pay no heed to it.

Re:Distraction Bill (2)

Virtucon (127420) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681723)

Hey, if it works for the Administration why not for the Senate?

the FCC got it right (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681471)

They are charged with deciding whether allowing cell phones is safe, not the pros and cons of passenger convenience/inconvenience.

From another article: [politico.com]

Nick Calio, the president and CEO of Airlines for America, testifying Thursday at a House hearing on the aviation industry, said regulators should determine whether allowing cellphones to be used for voice calls in flight is safe and should leave further decisions up to the airlines.

“If they do so, we believe the decision should be left up to individual carriers as to whether they want to institute a policy or not,” Calio said. “In considering that, they’ll consider the safety of their passengers and their crews and customer input.”

That sounds right.

Re:the FCC got it right (2)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681663)

Exactly, and nor is it something the Federal govt should be involved with. Airlines are completely capable of deciding for themselves if more people are annoyed or if more people would prefer to be able to use phones.

Ear Plugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681493)

Airlines should just pass out complimentary ear plugs to solve this and other noise . The inside of an airplane is pretty loud and annoying as it is.

Foamies (1)

couchslug (175151) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681495)

I use foam ear plugs and sleep through most flights. I stay up late, crash on the plane perhaps with the help of some Dramamine, and I don't care what the other passengers do.

Let them have their communication so I may have mine when I wish.

Don't believe it for a second (2)

Just Some Guy (3352) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681497)

I can't overexaggerate how much I love the zone of silence in my daily bus and train rides, or the pristine calm of the city sidewalks.

Give me a fucking break. Suddenly the Senate is concerned for my delicate ears? More likely: an airline was cutting a deal with a carrier to sell AirTalk (tm) in-flight voice at $3.99 a minute and doesn't want to be undercut.

Re:Don't believe it for a second (1)

necro81 (917438) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681675)

I can't overexaggerate how much I love the zone of silence in my daily bus and train rides, or the pristine calm of the city sidewalks.

Airplanes are a bit of a special case, owing to the fact that you are in tighter and more stress-inducing quarters, for longer periods of time, and can't get up to move to a different seat if you get stuck next to the asshat who wants to shout at his sister in Des Moines.

We are adults (1)

alextheseal (653421) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681501)

For fucks sake, if it's not a safety issue that we don't need laws about it. We are adults and contend with this in tons of other planes in our lives and can self regulate in a airplane. There is nothing magical about being in an airplane that makes us better or worse then off an airplane.

Re:We are adults (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681551)

If it is a safety issue why do we need a law about it? We are adults after all.

Re:We are adults (1)

Virtucon (127420) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681695)

You're assuming too much. [wfaa.com]

Ban their use for talking! (2)

macbeth66 (204889) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681553)

Oh, God! That's all I need. Cramped in a tin can with a pack of bored nitwit talkers for a five hour flight to the west coast. There is absolutely no need for this at all.

But then there will be all of the amusing fights that will surely follow. Maybe I ought to get an upgraded device to record videos. :)

Yeah. I've changed my mind. Allow cell phone calls on a plane.

I love how this is coming from old people (2)

VTBlue (600055) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681565)

As a Dem, I can understand some members of the party seeing a need for this, but I'm shocked that Lamar Alexander is co-sponsoring this. So much for anti-regulation republicans. While I agree that voice calls should not be permitted in planes, there is no reason to legislate this. It is very reasonable that in the future there may be airlines dedicated to business passengers who would find value in having phone calls on a flight.

Let us also forget the fact that many airplanes already have seat tethered phones that no one uses. A passenger etiquette policy determined by airlines would be preferable than a blanket ban. I see this more as a generational issue where old people are once again on the losing side.

Uh... what? (1)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681573)

"...saying it might not be "fair" to consumers to have to listen to other passengers talk on the phone throughout a long flight"

In practice, I think the noise level from chatter would generally be far higher from people simply talking to those they are traveling with them than it would be from people with cell phones. No worse, for instance, than what you might expect on public transit, where cell phones are entirely allowed.. but with the provision that people are still expected to keep their voices at a reasonable level (I've actually seen a person on transit get reprimanded by complete strangers for talking too loudly on their phone once... the embarrassment of the situation alone, I think, was what made the person be completely quite thereafter).

Ridiculous (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681575)

The FCC's job is to determine if they are safe, so people calling for _them_ to ban them because of the annoyance factors are just assholes.

It's also not the government's job to prevent minor "annoyance" as some piece of bullshit populist legislation. If people are that annoyed the airlines can ban them.

what about... (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681591)

...restricting them to designated areas....you know...a phone booth (call box, or hell...make one look like TARDIS)

Welcome to capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681625)

Consumer choice of this nature is NONE of the FEDERAL governments business. If consumers don't want talking on planes, then businesses will respond. This is something that should be left to businesses to handle, this is NOT a government policy/regulation issue. It has nothing to do with safety, etc. Let the dollars and consumers decide.

If they start allowing cell phone use in flight... (1)

Virtucon (127420) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681665)

I'm going to start eating extra spicy burritos just before we depart. Sorry, If I have to listen to endless "oh my god" and "you knows" or the pugnacious business guy making client calls all during a flight I will release my own anti-chatter device! Besides it's good for you! [gawker.com]

 

Chatty Passengers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681697)

I have no problem with cell phone calls during flight. Just a warning, if you are sitting next to me and become a Chatty Cathy during the majority of the flight, I will become the "Aromatic Traveller" next to you.

SMH No cellphone required. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681701)

DF? Every single flight I've been on I bullshitted with my friend the entire flight just to his loud obnoxious laugh the entire flight. Okay not really, the real reason is flights are fucking boring as hell and joking around makes time fly. ;)

better idea (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | 1 year,7 days | (#45681721)

I propose they pass a bill stating that people should get the fuck over it. I'm capable of making a quiet and non-annoying call in a public area. Others are not. That's just how it is. Tell them to quiet down or ignore it.

If they ban babies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45681743)

...then we're talking.

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