Politicians Want To Make In-Flight Calling Illegal - InformationWeek

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4/16/2008
03:25 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Politicians Want To Make In-Flight Calling Illegal

Rep. Peter DeFazio stood up and said what we're all thinking: "The public doesn't want to be subjected to people talking on their cell phones on an already over-packed airplane." Couldn't have said it better myself. Now, will Congress listen, and actually pass a law?

Rep. Peter DeFazio stood up and said what we're all thinking: "The public doesn't want to be subjected to people talking on their cell phones on an already over-packed airplane." Couldn't have said it better myself. Now, will Congress listen, and actually pass a law?New legislation proposed by DeFazio would make voice calls while in flight a no-no. Using your mobile phone for Internet browsing, and sending SMS messages is just fine with DeFazio, though. In other words, BlackBerry addicts can get their e-mails done, but socializers will have to sit quietly.

DeFazio, D-Ore., went on to say, "With Internet access just around the corner on U.S. flights, it won't be long before the ban on voice communications on in-flight planes is lifted. Our bill, the HANG UP Act, would ensure that financially strapped airlines don't drive us toward this noisome disruption in search of further revenue."

DeFazio and his co-sponsor, Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., were joined by others from the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in support of the bill. This bill comes barely a week after European regulators approved the use of cell phones on airplanes that are in the air.

Costello argued, "Last year was one of the worst on record for flight cancellations, delays, and lost luggage. Now is not the time to consider making the airline passenger-experience any worse, and using cell phones in-flight would do just that. Polls show that the American public is strongly opposed to allowing cell phone use in-flight. They don't just oppose the idea, they hate it, and the HANG UP Act will make sure it does not happen."

Wow, is that true? Do we hate the idea of in-flight calling? I feel very strong negative emotions about it, that is for sure. The idea of making it illegal seems to be a bit overboard. I mean, right now, the service isn't being offered on U.S. flights. If it's not offered, we can't break the law and start making calls. I'm sure the FCC and FAA could simply prevent any companies from cobbling together such a service without actually making it illegal.

Internet, on the other hand? Gimme some of that action.

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