Politicians Want To Ban Already Banned Mobile Phone Use While Flying

from the department-of-redundant-redundancies dept

Politicians just love to grandstand in the hopes of getting some publicity for their next election campaign -- and that includes passing laws against things that are already illegal. The latest is that some politicians are looking to pass a law banning the use of mobile phones while flying in an airplane. As you probably know, such things are already banned by rules from both the FAA and the FCC. And, while there's some effort underway to lift such bans, the two government agencies have suggested they have no plans to modify theirs. But, that won't stop Congress from stepping up to tell people it's protecting them from chatty flightmates. It even came up with a cute name for the law: the Halting Airplane Noise to Give Us Peace (HANG UP) Act. Honestly, if politicians spent a little less time coming up with catchy acronyms for unnecessary laws, they might actually do something useful.

But, more to the point, even without the FCC/FAA ban, it's not at all clear why this is needed. Yes, there are many, many people who have made it clear that they don't want to sit next to a chatty person on a mobile phone while stuck in a tin can hurtling through the skies. But can't people vote with their wallets on that? If it's something that really upsets people, then that's an opportunity for an airline to declare mobile phones off-limits, or to create "quiet sections" where mobile phones can't be used. There's no reason for the government to get involved at all. Besides, it's still unclear how they're going to ban "voice" calls once they allow internet data to flow on-board. After all, on the internet, voice is just another form of data.


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    Seth, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 9:20am

    Roaming charges

    Also, almost every story about cellphone calls on commercial flights forget to mention that you will pay roaming fees to make that call! Do you really think everyone is going to start chatting away if they're racking up a huge bill? No way. Sure, there will be quick calls. "we're landing in 30 min, see you at baggage claim door #5" but there will be very few folks who have the wallet to make a call for any long period of time.

    Also, the system can be turned off at any time. So if people are distrupting other passengers and refuse to willingly end the call, the flight crew can take action.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 12:23pm

      Re: Roaming charges

      Do you really think everyone is going to start chatting away if they're racking up a huge bill?
      No, and no one said so either. However, some of the most rude and obnoxious people I have ever met have been from some very wealthy families and I can guarantee you they would not think twice about carrying on very loud cell phone conversations throughout an entire flight.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 12:50pm

        Re: Re: Roaming charges

        my dad travels alot for buisness, and not once has he ever mentioned an issue with people chatting on their phones too much. So whats the big deal?

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 12:57pm

      Re: Roaming charges

      Most company's don't even charge roaming fees anymore, so there would be no additional charge. Besides, what's the difference from someone talking on a phone to someone talking to the person next to them. It's all stupid if you ask me.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 2:06pm

        Re: Re: Roaming charges

        the difference is that people sitting next to each other speak in a normal conversational volume, while people on cellphones speak very loudly because they think that helps the signal better travel the long distance.

         

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    Melvillain, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 9:22am

    Politicians are lazy

    OK, HANG UP is a terrible pun, but I wouldn't have a problem if Congress actually thought up that name, because that would mean they actually did some work. Instead I'm sure one of the staff members came up with it while their bosses were in the other room smoking cigars and jerking each other off.

     

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    arbulus, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 9:28am

    So what about ip phones/softphones? If I'll be able to access the internet on a flight and I fire up Skype or Gizmo, is that ok? I'm not on a cell phone, I'm on my computer just accessing the Internet. So to me, that seems would be perfectly ok according to their regulations.

    If they do allow Internet usage and don't want people to use phones on the plane, then they are going to have to pass a ban on voice calls of ANY kind, be they IP or cellular.

     

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      G.A.S/ - GuysAgainstStupidity, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 10:52am

      Re:

      First learn what a network admin can do and then ask this question. if they disallow phone calls they can easily block those programs by Blocking IP Addresses, ports, or filtering by type of service.

       

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        arbulus, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 6:48pm

        Re: Re:

        I know full well what a network admin can do. I am one. Beside, a network admin has NOTHING to do with cell traffic. I know you can block VoIP traffic, but you can't do anything about cell traffic. I'm simply speaking about the hypocrisy implicit in the situation.

         

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    arbulus, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 9:37am

    just an addendum:
    I'm really tired of the government's involvment in the airline industry. For FSM's sake, why doesn't the US Gov't just buy every airline company and run it themselves? I mean, they basically already do anyway. To me, if they want to be so involved with the industry as they are then they should buy it. Otherwise they need to stay the hell out of it.

    I am so sick of these security screenings, the getting half undressed in line to they can check your shoes/belt/coat/whateverotherpieceofclothingtheywant. I'm tired of being treated like a criminal for just walking into an airport. I'm tired of what the industry has become post 9/11. I'm tired of 9/11 still influencing policy. I'm tired of the government having such control over one of the biggest and most important forms of travel in this country.

    I'm tired of this McCarthy-istic, scare-mongering society of fear that we live in. I'm tired of one of our major transportation industries being puppeted by the government. If they want that much control, then they should buy it. Otherwise, they need to stay the hell out of everyone's business and let me board a damned plane without having to take off half my clothes first.

     

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    Dave Barnes, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 9:47am

    Politicians don't

    The OP wrote: "if politicians spent a little less time coming up with catchy acronyms for unnecessary laws".

    Uh, policticians don't come up with these. Their staff members do. Remember, our lawmakers don't even read the bills they vote on. They just vote the way their staff instructs them to.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 9:54am

    At least they're not doing too much damage

    Banning something thats already banned seems like a good diversion to keep the government from screwing something else up.

     

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    Todd, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 10:02am

    Typical Uselessness

    Yep. This is just what I would expect from the fine bunch of dipsticks up on the hill. Course, we should not at all be surprised. Is that not their job these days, after all? Create a problem out of a non-problem so they can give the appearance of actually doing something.
    We are involved in a treasury bilking conflict that a good share of us believe will be all for not as the people seem more adapt to following the twistedly religious crackpots to the end of the earth.
    Kids these days, to some degree, have the mental capacity of a gnat. And the ones willing to put forth the effort have to be turned away because they can't afford the mortgaged sized bill to attend.
    Health care is atrocious! $20 co-pay to see a doctor for 10 minutes for him/her to tell you they THINK they know what is wrong, after they made you wait an hour past your appointment to see them. And much, much worse for those with no insurance at all!
    Cost of energy is going through the roof. We are bombarded every day to "think green" when I for one cannot afford to buy new energy saving items. And with the way things are going at present, I might have a hard time affording energy, PERIOD.
    There is so much more that requires attention. We still deal with racism, poverty, abuse, and pollution. People are still suffering from Katrina, going on 3 years later. But someway, somehow, someone has come up with the idea that cell phones on an airplane are a problem that really needs to be dealt with. They can't solve a REAL problem. So let's invent one!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 10:04am

    of all the stupid laws on the books, this sounds like a good idea. think about it when you're wedged in the middle seat on an LA-NY flight and are trying to sleep, work, read a book, and your neighbor decides he wants to chat up someone for the next hour or so.

     

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    suckerpunch-tm, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 10:05am

    Politicians Want To Ban Already Banned Mobile Phone Use While Flying

    If you don't want to be bothered by others while in public spaces, maybe you shouldn't go out in public?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 10:12am

    as long as they use a hands free, it should be ok.

     

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    John Canada, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 10:18am

    They forgot one part of the law. How will this protect OUR CHILDREN.

     

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    mike allen, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 10:34am

    could

    this have something to do with the British now allowing calls from mobile phones on planes. Ofcom recently announced.

     

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    Overcast, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 10:35am

    But I'm sure it's ok for them to use cell phones while flying. ...

     

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    Jake, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 11:16am

    This might be something to do with the fact that there's talk of lifting the blanket ban in Europe. As I understand it, the ban was originally enacted on technical and safety grounds; early mobile phones were powerful enough that they could potentially interfere with an aircraft's systems, and some cellphone manufacturers claimed that using one in an aircraft could actually bring the network down. Presumably these issues have now been addressed by improvements in cellphone technology, so the original purpose of the regulation no longer applies, in which case the various aircraft-safety boards in Europe are probably right to lift it; whilst entirely genuine, the nuisance issue is outside their jurisdiction.
    Still, making it a criminal offence -presumably with hefty fines involved- strikes me as overkill; the justice system's resources are finite, and could probably be put to better uses than the admittedly not unattractive task of deterring people from being a pain in the arse.

     

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      Twinrova, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 3:56am

      Re:

      "...early mobile phones were powerful enough that they could potentially interfere with an aircraft's systems..."
      This is the biggest load of crap being fueled to the public because the FCC (et al) know just how ignorant the public is to radio frequencies (and why would they care?).

      In fact, there is absolutely no reason to have a ban on cell phone use in planes.

      This is just another attempt at airlines (et al) to force consumers to use their modes of communication (racked up fees for revenue) instead of giving what the consumer wants.

       

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    Dkp, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 11:39am

    spend more time on things that need doing

    how about spending more time on things that actually need doing

    healthcare
    telcos
    doing away with the dmca
    revising all of the patent/copyright laws so they actually do what they are intended to do
    sustainable energy
    getting us out of Iraq
    doing away with special interest groups never happen
    do away with pork belly funding never happen again

     

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    James, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 11:54am

    cell phones on planes

    i'm not sure the vote with your wallet would work. i'm old enough to remember smoking on planes and you would have thought that that would allow for market pressures, after all, most people are non smokers and most non smokers prefer non smoking environments. (Hey, you absolutists out there, please note I said MOST.) non smoking airlines were essentially niche players or gimmicky startups (e.g., Muse Air, Dallas) And the FAA were complicit in allowing this monopoly by regulation, even after international flights banned them. Note that Delta went first, before regulation set in, on European flights to capture business. So there is an example for your thought. BUT, the FAA soon realized that to prevent market forces from taking over, they would have to ban it for everyone to stop feature differentiation from having an impact -- and to protect AA.

     

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    Rediculous, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 12:16pm

    Filthy Euros

    first, there are some people who just won't shut up on a plane. I'd rather they talk on the phone than to me.

    Second, I wonder if the bill's sponsors consulted the American Productivity Institute, who have a well-publicized study showing that the present laws cost our economy $893 Billion annually in lost productivity. Furthermore, do you know how many conference calls you can accomplish in your run of the mill San Antonio-LaGuardia flight?

    No wonder the dollar is so weak against European currencies.

    Why in the hell are these morons preoccupied with such drivel? don't they realize there's a war going on?

     

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    Dave, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 12:20pm

    It's a good start

    But they should also ban hijacking, murder and crossing against the lights. Can't be too careful. Just because their illegal, they still happen.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 12:44pm

    Sometime Govt. Regulation is Needed

    There's no reason for the government to get involved at all.
    Yes, there is. The market won't solve all problems. The above post about smoking on planes gives one example and here's another one: The employee job market. Now because employers are supposedly competing against one another in the market for employees if the market could take care of all problems then there would be no need for government regulation of what employers could do to employees. For example, there would be no need for laws against sexual harassment in the work place because any employee that didn't want to be sexually harassed could just go to work for some other employer who wouldn't do that. History has shown, however, that the market doesn't work quite that well and laws are indeed needed to prevent abuses.

     

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    and Take action yourself!, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 2:30pm

    Be responsible...

    The problem is that we fail to speak up when someone is acting out side of the social norm. We have a moral obligation as a citizen to help remind other citizens, politely, what is and isn't socially acceptable.

    When was the last time you were brave enough to ask some one to hang up in a check-out line, or call some one out when they bring a shopping cart full of groceries to the 10 items or less lane. You would be surprised by the reaction you will get from others around you thinking the same thing but not acting. try it, it feels good and you will help remind some one to think about others and not just themselves.

     

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      arbulus, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 6:46pm

      Re: Be responsible...

      no, it is not a moral obligation. You have NO obligation to meddle in other people's affairs. you have no right to say anything to someone else about what you think is or isn't acceptable. Telling me what YOU think is acceptable and what isn't makes you a piece of shit. You have no right to tell me what is right for me. That is the same kind of mentality that drives evangelist christians: they think they have a duty to tell others that they're going to hell if they don't change their ways. I'm sorry, but you have NO RIGHT to say once single word to me about what you think is right or wrong.

      There's a complete difference between caring about other people and doing a charitable and helpful thing for others and meddling and butting in where you have no right to be.

       

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        Someone Else, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 10:26am

        Re: Re: Be responsible...

        So I don't have the power of free speech? I can't ask you to hang up so that I can get home at a reasonable time? I can't ask you to respect other people instead of pretending the world is there to serve you?

        I'm not saying you have to listen/acknowledge/pay attention to other people, but that does NOT mean that other people do not have the right to mention something to you.

        If someone next to me on a flight was being annoyingly loud and disruptive on their cell phone, I would most definitely ask them to be quiet(er). I wouldn't yell/scream/be rude, but I would ask them nicely to tone down the volume a bit, and guess what, That is MY RIGHT! I just can't assume that they will listen.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 9:35am

          Re: Re: Re: Be responsible...

          I can't ask you to hang up so that I can get home at a reasonable time?

          sho u do but i can beats u down 4 it 2.

          If someone next to me on a flight was being annoyingly loud and disruptive on their cell phone, I would most definitely ask them to be quiet(er). I wouldn't yell/scream/be rude, but I would ask them nicely to tone down the volume a bit, and guess what, That is MY RIGHT! I just can't assume that they will listen.

          shut up bitch. can't u see i'm on da phone?

           

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    Paronoid, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 2:43pm

    Watch if this IS passed, more than likel there will be some type of admendment not related to cell phone usage on a plane. This may be an attempt to backdoor something else that we may all fear...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 6:29pm

    That's a Tazin

    Will this new law cover the little old lady next to me who wants to talk about how much she missed her cats on the week long vacation she had to see her granddaughter ... while I'm trying to read the magizine I paid way too much for in the airport because I thought I'd be bored to death on the flight by someone who wanted to talk the entire duration ?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 10:23am

      Re: That's a Tazin

      Will this new law cover the little old lady next to me who wants to talk about how much she missed her cats on the week long vacation she had to see her granddaughter ...
      You're not very strong in the reading comprehension department are you? Try reading the article again and see if you can figure out that it would only apply to cell phones.

       

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