House committee passes bill banning in-flight phone calls

The bill would allow mobile device users to surf the Internet and send text messages

A U.S. House of Representatives committee has passed legislation that would prohibit mobile phone users from making voice calls during airline flights, despite a U.S. Federal Communications Commission move to allow in-flight calls.

The Prohibiting In-Flight Voice Communications on Mobile Wireless Devices Act, sponsored by Representative Bill Shuster, would allow mobile phone and tablet users to surf the Internet and send text messages during flights, but would ban voice calls in most cases. The bill passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee by a voice vote Tuesday and now heads to the full House for a vote.

The bill would exempt members of the flight crew and law enforcement agencies from the ban on making voice calls during flights.

Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican, introduced the bill in December, days before the FCC voted to move forward with a plan to allow airlines to permit passengers to use mobile phones during flights. The U.S. Department of Transportation has said it plans to consider its own ban on voice calls during flights.

Voice calls on flights would be distracting and annoying, said Shuster, chairman of the committee. It would be "common sense" to ban voice calls, he said during a hearing.

"Airplane cabins are noisy, crowded and confined," Shuster said. "Most passengers would like their flights to go by as quickly and as quietly as possible. Subjecting passengers to potentially multiple loud phone conversations ... would obviously diminish the comfort of any flight."

No one spoke out against the bill during the committee's hearing Tuesday.

Supporters of the bill noted broad public opposition to allowing voice calls during flights. After the FCC announced its move toward allowing the calls, "a chill went through the flying public and flight attendants nationwide," said Representative Nick Rahall, a West Virginia Democrat.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags telecommunicationU.S. House of RepresentativesNick RahallU.S. Federal Communications CommissionmobilelegislationgovernmentBill ShusterU.S. Department of Transportation4g3g

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?