Republicans Want To Keep Airplane Phone Ban In Place Because Of The Noise

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Two Republican lawmakers in recent days have said they will fight to keep a ban on in-flight cellphone calls in place because they can’t stand to hear people yammer.

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have said they will offer bills to keep the ban in place. For Shuster, the issue is noise.

“Let’s face it, airplane cabins are by nature noisy, crowded, and confined,” Shuster, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said Monday, according to The Hill newspaper. “For those few hours in the air with 150 other people, it’s just common sense that we all keep our personal lives to ourselves and stay off the phone.”

In a statement in late November, Alexander said he would introduce legislation to prevent what he envisions as a more turbulent future for air travel.

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

According to The Hill, the Federal Communications Commission announced last month that it would look into ending the ban. The Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year said passengers would be allowed to send email and texts from their phones during flight.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, a flight attendants union, told the Hill it supports Shuster’s proposal.

“Flight Attendants, as first responders and the last line of defense in our nation’s aviation system, understand the importance of maintaining a calm cabin environment,” the union statement to the Hill said. “Any situation that is loud, divisive, and possibly disruptive is not only unwelcome but also unsafe.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website?s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl@talkingpointsmemo.com
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