Allowing airline passengers to make cellphone calls in-flight is asking for trouble, lawmakers said Tuesday as a House panel approved a bill to ban such calls.
The bill — passed without opposition by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee — requires the Department of Transportation to issue regulations prohibiting such calls.
The bill has no impact on the Federal Aviation Administration's decision late last year to allow passengers to email, text, surf the Internet and download data using smartphones and other personal electronic devices during takeoffs and landings.
Phone calls are another matter. Both Republican and Democratic House members, some of the nation's most frequent flyers, said they believe in-flight calls would be noisy and disturbing to other passengers and possibly disruptive.
"Most passengers would like their flights to go by as quickly and quietly as possible," Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., the committee's chairman and sponsor of the bill, said. "When it comes to cellphones on planes, tap don't talk."
The bill is a response to moves late last year by the Federal Communications Commission to remove the long-standing prohibition on in-flight calls.
Shuster emphasized that he doesn't fly between Washington and his district, but said he was "looking out for" his congressional colleagues.
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Original headline: US House takes step toward ban on in-flight calls
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