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House Committee Votes To Keep Cell Phone Calls Off Airplanes

February 11, 2014 - Measures to ensure cell phone calls stay out of airplane cabins, H.R. 3676, Prohibiting In-Flight Voice Communications on Mobile Wireless Devices Act of 2013 was approved by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure today. 

Chairman Shuster introduced H.R. 3676 in the House which prohibits the use of cell phones for voice communications only during the in-flight portion of any scheduled domestic commercial flight. The bill contains exemptions from the ban for on-duty members of flight and cabin crews, and federal law enforcement personnel acting in an official capacity. 

“This bill is simple. When it comes to cell phones on planes, tap, don’t talk,” Shuster said. “Airplane cabins are by nature noisy, crowded, and confined. In our day-to-day lives, when we find someone’s cell phone call to be too loud, too close, or too personal, we can just walk away. 


“But at 30,000 feet, there’s nowhere else for an airline passenger to go. Under this bill, passengers will be able to use their mobile devices to stay connected, through getting online, emailing, texting, and more. During flights, it is common sense and common courtesy to continue keeping cell phone calls on the ground.” 

“The American public has made it overwhelmingly clear that they do not want to be subjected to annoying cell phone conversations while stuck on an airplane,” said DeFazio. “I joined Chairman Shuster’s bipartisan bill because I believe we should do what we can to protect consumers and ensure safety on all flights. Today’s passage will help preserve passenger sanity.” 

U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow reacted to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's approval of a bill to ban in-flight cell phone use (H.R. 3676). "I always say we should think carefully whenever Congress' impulse is to say, 'No, you can't,' but both personally and professionally this move to ban in-flight mobile calls feels to me like the right thing to do. In polls, social media and everywhere else, travelers have consistently expressed their opposition to open phone conversations on planes. The flight experience needs all the serenity it can get.



"I don't fault the FCC for finding that these calls could be permissible, but I'm thankful that Chairman Shuster and his committee have stepped in to ponder the question of whether allowing them would actually benefit the travel experience. In an age of so much contention in Congress, I'm hoping this measure moves quickly and serves as a reminder that our lawmakers can still move decisively to improve our quality of life in this small but meaningful way. This is one instance where it has been a pleasure to watch the legislative process at work.”
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