Cumberland Times-News

February 12, 2014

Just be quiet

Bill would ban talking on cellphones during flight

Cumberland Times-News

— Emailing, texting and surfing the internet while on an airplane seem to be reasonable activities. Yakking away on a cellphone? That’s another matter.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee agrees.

On Tuesday, the panel unanimously approved a bill requiring the Department of Transportation to issue regulations prohibiting cell calls by passengers in-flight.

“Most passengers would like their flights to go by as quickly and quietly as possible,” Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., the committee’s chairman and sponsor of the bill, said. “When it comes to cellphones on planes, tap don’t talk.”

Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., said the prospect of “sitting among dozens of people all talking on their cellphones in a confined space raises serious safety, if not comfort, considerations especially at a time when passengers face less legroom, higher fees and pricey flights.”

Rahall’s comments likely reflect what the majority of us think about annoying cellphone conversations — especially in the confined space of an airliner.

Many air passengers try to sleep, especially on longer flights. Having cellphone conversations all around the plane would hardly be conducive for napping.

Calls during flights have been banned for more than two decades because of fears they would interfere with cellular networks on the ground. But today’s technology has resolved those problems.

But the real problem here is the disruption that would be caused by cellphone conversations throughout the airplane. Air travel can be aggravating enough without adding cellphone noise into the mix.