Thursday, September 25, 2008
REP.JOHN MICA ON CELL PHONE BAN ON AIRPLANES -- "You are trying to legislate courtesy, folks, and that just doesn't work," Butthead should know.
One House Committee approved by voice vote a bill that would make the current FAA and FCC ban on cellphone use during flight permanent.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Cellphone calls on airplanes in flight are not only unsafe, they are obnoxious and they should be permanently banned, according to some members of the U.S. Congress.
Members of the House of Representatives, most of whom board airplanes almost every week, traded horror stories Thursday about their worst experiences with annoying fellow passengers who talk loudly on cellphones before takeoff and after landing. One lawmaker said his wife sat next to a woman who loudly discussed her sex life on the phone.
Another House member topped that with the passenger sitting him behind on one flight who got a "dear John" phone call from either his wife or sweetheart just before takeoff. The begging and pleading was just terrible to listen to, he said. Finally, with the plane ready to take off, a flight attendant had to threaten to have U.S. Marshals drag the man off the plane before he finally put his phone away.
A third House member raised the specter of national security, saying she had witnessed one man use his cellphone camera to take pictures of sensitive parts of the airplane.
With that, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved by voice vote a bill that would make the current Federal Aviation Administration and Federal Communication Commission ban on cellphone use during flight permanent.
The committee's action comes as the European Union is moving to allow airline passengers to talk on their cellphones during flight. Some U.S. airlines are experimenting with in-flight Internet access. And some lawmakers worry that domestic airlines might try to get the cellphone ban lifted so they can charge passengers extra to sit in no-phone sections.
"I do believe this is important that we don't make what is already a crowded and difficult environment for the traveling public and flight attendants" worse by allowing cellphone use in-flight, said Rep. Peter DeFazio, a Democrat and sponsor of the Halting Airplane Noise to Give Us Peace (HANG UP) Act.
But Rep. John Mica, a Republican, said there are a lot of annoying things on airplanes, including children with dirty diapers and noisy MP3 players, but that does not mean they should be banned.
"You are trying to legislate courtesy, folks, and that just doesn't work," Mica said.