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Shuster & DeFazio Commend DOT Announcement on In-Flight Cell Phone Calls

Washington, DC, December 12, 2013 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446 | comments
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Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and senior Committee Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR) responded to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) announcement regarding its plans to examine continuing a ban on in-flight cell phone calls on U.S. commercial air service.

“I’m happy to hear that the DOT recognizes that the majority of Americans don’t support allowing cell phone calls during commercial flights, and that it plans to examine the issue closely,” Shuster said.  “Legislation I introduced on Monday, and which has been cosponsored by Congressman DeFazio and dozens of other Members, would prohibit in-flight calls.  However, if DOT has determined they have the authority to keep a ban on in-flight calls in place, then I look forward to working with them to ensure something the public supports by a two-to-one margin.

“Airplane cabins are by nature noisy, crowded, and confined.  Being able to logon to text and email is useful for passengers, but it’s just unnecessary to have potentially dozens of phone conversations occurring during a flight.   When it comes to mobile devices on planes, tap, don’t talk – this will give passengers the best opportunity to enjoy a quiet, uneventful trip,” said Shuster.

“I’m pleased DOT will take a close look at proactively prohibiting cell phone conversations on planes,” said DeFazio, the lead House Democrat on the bill.  “As I’ve been saying for years, allowing passengers to make in-flight phone calls would not only show a complete disregard for an American public that overwhelmingly opposes them, but would also pose serious safety issues for everyone in the cabin.  I will continue to work with Chairman Shuster and the rest of my colleagues in Congress to pressure DOT to follow through with prohibiting cell phone calls on planes.”

On December 9, 2013, Chairman Shuster introduced the “Prohibiting In-Flight Voice Communications on Mobile Wireless Devices Act of 2013” (H.R. 3676) in the wake of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) announced plans to review whether the current ban on in-flight cell phone calls is justified based on technology.  The FCC is scheduled to vote on how it will proceed with this issue during a meeting later today.

“I understand the FCC today may act to possibly remove the ban based simply on whether there’s a purely technological basis for keeping it in place, and that FCC Chairman Wheeler testified before Congress today that he personally does not like the idea of passengers next to him ‘yapping at 35,000 feet any more than anyone else.’  I appreciate his position,” Shuster said.  “However, the FAA continues to regulate air transportation, and I will work with all parties involved to prevent any unnecessary added chaos to the flying experience in the United States.”

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Tags: Aviation