from the aren't-politicians-great? dept
Yes, a Congressional representative, Peter DeFazio, has given us the (I kid you not on the name) Halting Airplane Noise to Give Us Peace (Hang Up) Act, which forbids "voice communications using communications devices on scheduled flights." We had mentioned this law when it was first proposed, but it's actually now been approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
While I can understand the annoyance factor that people fear (and, yes, it's actually been shown that only hearing half of the conversation is more annoying, which is why it's different than just having people talking to each other on the plane), it's still not clear why such a law is needed. Beyond the FCC and FAA bans already in place, if such phone calls are really as annoying as most people predict, then why wouldn't airlines already ban them, rather than piss off customers? Or, more likely, you'd get some self-selection in a way that benefits everyone. Some airlines might allow phone calls, while others wouldn't -- and people can self-select. Or, some airlines may have "talking sections" and "non-talking sections," and, again, the issue is solved completely without needing a law at all. This is yet another example of Congress telling us what it thinks is good for everyone, when people are pretty well-equipped to figure that out on their own.