A House of Representatives committee threw another hurdle into the path of in-flight cell phone use Thursday, when it voted to ban the use permanently. By a voice vote, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed the Halting Airplane Noise to Give Us Peace(or Hang Up) Act, which was introduced earlier this year by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.).
The legislation, which now moves to the full House for consideration, would prohibit "voice communications using communications devices on scheduled flights," with exceptions for flight crew members and a federal law enforcement officer acting in an official capacity. In-flight texting, Wi-Fi, and e-mail on airplanes would not be affected.
In a statement, DeFazio said that not only is cell phone use aloft an annoyance, but also that airlines should be stopped from using in-flight talking as a potential revenue source. "With airline customer satisfaction at an all time low, this is not the time to consider making airplane travel even more torturous," he said. "Polls show the public overwhelmingly doesn't want to be subjected to people talking on their cell phones on increasingly over-packed airplanes." During the hearing, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) lodged a dissenting voice, saying, "You are trying to legislate courtesy, folks, and that just doesn't work." … Read more