Thursday, June 7, 2018

Alexander Urges In-Flight Call Ban

Posted By on Thu, Jun 7, 2018 at 11:56 AM

click to enlarge flyby_cellairplane-w.jpg

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander urged government officials to finalize rules passed Thursday that will ban cell phone calls on commercial flights.

The issue has been a longtime focus for Alexander. He and Senate Democrat Ed Markey, of Massachusetts, filed the bill a year ago and it was passed Thursday by the Senate Appropriations Committee.   
Sen. Alexander
  • Sen. Alexander

“I would suggest that any senator who opposes banning cell phone conversations on flights be sentenced to sit next to a loud businessman talking to his girlfriend on a six-hour flight between New York and California," Alexander said in a statement. "Keeping phone conversations off commercial flights may not be enshrined in the Constitution, but surely it is enshrined in common sense.”

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) considered allowing calls on flights in December 2013. But current FCC chairman Ajit Pai axed the consideration in April. Though, future FCC chairmen could allow it.

Alexander's bill directs the Department of Transportation to finalize regulations banning in-flight calls.
Rep. Steve Cohen, too, has been working to make the skies friendlier. He has long urged Congress to set minimums on the sizes of seats on commercial airlines and minimums on the distance between rows of seats.

According to Cohen, the average distance between rows of seats has dropped from 35 inches before airline deregulation in the 1970s to about 31 inches. The average width of an airline seat has also shrunk from 18 inches to about 16.5.

"Planes need to be capable of rapid evacuation in case of emergency, and we need the (Federal Aviation Adminstration) to examine the impact of today’s smaller seats.” Cohen said in a statement. “Safety has to come first."

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