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Congress to vote on in-air cellphone ban

updated 12:00 pm EDT, Fri August 1, 2008

House Decides In-Air Ban

The Congressional Transportation and Infrastructure committee voted yesterday to introduce a bill to the House of Representatives that will potentially outlaw nearly all use of active cellphones on any commercial aircraft. Nicknamed the Hang Up Act, the measure would ban placing or receiving voice calls for all but the crew as well as for any air marshals aboard a given flight. Democrat Peter DeFazio, who proposed the bill, describes the possibility of allowing voice calls an "annoyance" and that an attempt to profit from these calls to make up for a poor economy would be ill-advised.

Critics, including Republican John Mica, agree that in-air calls are impolite but don't believe that legislating against them would be productive. "You are trying to legislate courtesy, folks, and that just doesn't work," he says. The Federal Aviation Administration already has its own ban but is allowed to reverse it.

The Act would still allow any non-voice access through the phones, including sending text and media messages through the cellular network as well as mobile data access, including over Wi-Fi inside the cabin.

Cellphone use has only become an issue with the advancement of technology that establishes a cellular transceiver in the airplane itself. The device serves as a router for cellphones aboard the plane and reduces the strength of the potentially interference-inducing wireless signal used by each phone, which would otherwise have to boost their reception to reach towers on the ground.

Future in-flight access is more likely to revolve around Internet services such as AirCell, which use 3G and eventually 4G cellular access to feed a Wi-Fi network for passengers. [image via Flickr]

By Electronista Staff
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  1. zaghahzag

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2006


    please please please don

    Don't pass this! Airplane travel is already hellish enough without having to listen to the guy next to you tell his GF how much he loves her thighs!


  1. randombob

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007


    Re; Please Please Please

    I think you missed the concept. Re-read that there, bucko. Apparently, you WANT them to pass this, as it will STOP in-air chatter.

    Eh. Myself, I would rather our government do something worthwhile with their time, rather than waste our tax dollars worrying about Little Timmy running up airtime charges on a flight.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007


    oh for crying out loud!

    Talk about your nanny state propositions.
    You are now free to sit in yer uncomfortable seat and keep yer yap shut, OR ELSE!

  1. GORDYmac

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Dec 1999


    Yeah, take this up...'s not like there's anything else that needs attention before that ONE MONTH VACATION you gave yourselves recently!!!

    Pelosi is a joke.

  1. Thrillington

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2008


    Thank God!

    I fly over 130K miles a year and I've been hoping like heck that someone would stop this inane push to let people use cell phones on planes. It's bad enough you have to listen to it on buses, in theaters, on the plane before and after take-off. Ugh!

  1. garmonbosia

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2002


    @Flying Meat

    Gotta have rules man. How "bout the next time you exercise your "right" to annoy me, I start blowing an air horn in your ear? Where does it stop? I think it would be better if I quietly ask you to obey the law and please be quiet.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    safety measure

    The problem is that most people don't realize this is a passenger safety issue. Whatever the cause, airplane travel tends to make some people act idiotic or lose their common sense. Add in some irritation (like someone annoyingly chatting on their phone) and all h*** could break loose.

  1. JackWebb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007


    Congress is so smart

    Congress doesn't believe consumers and airlines will make the choice that congress knows is best. I hope there's still time to get it amended. I'd like them to legislate that crying babies be anesthetized because they are even more annoying.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007


    crying babies!!??!!

    Now you are talking! And no pets. Ever!

    And let's prevent fat people from boarding too! The seats are small enough without your neighbor spilling over into your seat.

  1. afaby

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2005


    American Fascism

    Nice. So the government should ban "annoying" behavior? What the h*** is happening in this country? I find many, many thing annoying, but I would never advocate government intervention. How about the annoying kid who keeps kicking the back of my chair? Should we ban children too?

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