Alexander, Feinstein Introduce Legislation To Stop Airplane Cell Phone Conversations

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Senator Lamar Alexander on Thursday introduced legislation to prohibit cell phone conversations on commercial airline flights, a possibility the Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to consider today.

“Keeping phone conversations private on commercial flights may not be enshrined in the Constitution, but it is certainly enshrined in common sense,” Senator Alexander said. “This legislation is about avoiding something nobody wants: nearly two million passengers a day, hurtling through space, trapped in 17-inch-wide seats, yapping their innermost thoughts.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.), an original cosponsor of the legislation, said, “Flying on a commercial airline—in a confined space, often for many hours—is a unique travel experience that is, candidly, not conducive to numerous passengers talking on cell phones.  This bill recognizes the use of cell phones to make calls during flights can be disruptive and irritating to other passengers and would prevent such communications during domestic flights.  The bill, however, would not affect the ability to communicate via text and email during a flight.”

The legislation, the Commercial Flight Courtesy Act, would prohibit the use of voice communication through cell phones on regularly scheduled commercial flights, after the Federal Communications Commission announced it is exploring what type of cell phone use is safe on airplanes. It would allow the use of cell phones for texting and other electronic communication, if the FCC were to approve such communications. It would also allow the use of personal electronic devices such as Kindles and iPads during flight, which the Federal Aviation Administration recently approved.

The FCC is scheduled to hold a public meeting this afternoon on a possible rule change approving the use of such technology on airplanes, a step it has acknowledged would “open the door” to approved cell phone conversations on flights. Alexander’s legislation mirrors current regulation. It only applies to commercial airlines, not private charter flights or foreign carriers, unless the latter is flying between U.S. airports. It exempts federal air marshals and flight crews for official business.

Senator Alexander said, “When you stop and think about what we hear now in airport lobbies – babbling about last night’s love life, next week’s schedule, arguments with spouses – it’s not hard to see why the FCC shouldn’t allow cell phone conversations on airplanes. The solution is simple: text messages, yes; conversations, no.”


Michael Basham Sought In Bradley County Burglaries

Michael Basham is being sought in Bradley County for several burglaries.  On Feb. 23, several residents in the area of Keith Valley Road in south Bradley County reported their vehicles were burglarized with items stolen. Bradley County Sheriff’s Office’s Criminal Investigations Division received information that Michael Basham was the suspect in these auto burglaries. ... (click for more)

Tanker Truck Crushes Pickup In Collision On Broad Street

A pickup truck was crushed under a tanker truck after a collision on Broad Street at 25th Street on Monday afternoon. However, the driver of the Dodge Ram was able to climb from the wreckage. He apparently suffered only minor injuries.   (click for more)

Tennessee Deserves Better Health Reform

Tennessee needs health care reform. Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," was not the best solution for Tennesseans. That is why the vast majority of Tennessee legislators never publicly supported the plan defeated in a special legislative session in February.   It is important to distinguish health care from health insurance. As one physician ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Cameras Or Subterfuge?

State Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) is an easy-to-like member of the Tennessee Legislature and the fact he is teaming with state senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) to rid the state of its loathsome traffic cameras is indeed a wonderful thing. The legislative action is long overdue, with the biggest winners being the out-of-state camera companies. That alone is just about all you ... (click for more)

Tre Tiller's 22 Leads Central To Region 3-AA Basketball Championship

There just must be something about playing basketball at Chattanooga State that makes the Central Purple Pounders click. Especially when the opponent is the Brainerd Panthers. Facing Brainerd for the fifth time this season and second at Chattanooga State on Monday night, the Purple Pounders defeated the Panthers for the third time. The latest conquest may have ... (click for more)

Greater Chattanooga HOF: Chairman John Farr To Step Down Class of 2015 Induction Dinner is Tonight At Convention Center

For chairman Dr. John Farr, tonight’s annual Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame dinner is the close of his decade of strong leadership.   A hall of fame board member since 1993, Dr.Farr plans to continue to hold a seat on the board, but has decided to step down as chair.   “I have enjoyed my 10 years as chairman, but I think it is time to let someone else ... (click for more)