I like the sound of this:
The federal government is moving closer to approving the use of cellphones on planes, but with a catch: Consumers couldn’t use the devices to make calls.
The effort would be the culmination of separate rules being considered at two federal agencies. The Federal Communications Commission is taking steps Thursday to allow airplanes to install technology that would enable cellphone service.
Separately, the Department of Transportation is considering a proposal that would ban calls outright. Passengers could still use their data plans on smartphones and tablets to surf the Web or send e-mails and texts….
I’ve been dreading the idea of having to listening to other people’s obnoxious conversations ever since I heard the gummint was talking about loosening its ban on phones. Obviously, I was far from the only one:
The idea of allowing cellphone calls on planes generated a massive storm of public criticism after it was first put forward by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last month. Travelers, flight attendants and lawmakers voiced concern that the proposal unleash unbearable cacophonies of phone conversation on packed airplanes….
On Thursday, Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced a bill that also would prohibit cellphone calls on commercial airlines, echoing an effort in the House this week.
“Keeping phone conversations private on commercial flights may not be enshrined in the Constitution, but it is certainly enshrined in common sense,” Alexander said. “This legislation is about avoiding something nobody wants: nearly 2 million passengers a day, hurtling through space, trapped in 17-inch-wide seats, yapping their innermost thoughts.”…
Speaking of voices… Ever since I heard that the rules might be loosened, I’ve thought about this one woman I was trapped on a plane with for nine hours, going to England. She was across the aisle and a couple of seats in front of me, but I couldn’t help hearing every loud, self-important word she spoke to the poor guy seated next to her. She didn’t speak the whole time — the guy must have pretended to go to sleep or something. But imagine if should could have filled those gaps with phone calls. I shudder. Some people shouldn’t be allowed out in public, much less making phone calls while enclose with a hundred other people in an aluminum tube in the sky.