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Americans To FCC Chair: No Cell Calls On Planes, Please

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the we-only-want-what-we-can't-have dept.

Cellphones 340

jfruh writes "Who says Americans are politically apathetic? The FCC's proposal to allow cellular data — and, if the airline allows it, voice calls — on airplanes unleashed a flood of responses even before the official comment period began this week. The sentiment was overwhelmingly opposed to people talking on phones in flight. Some correspondents spun terrifying hypotheticals about yapping teens, some accused FCC chair Tom Wheeler of flying on private planes and being out of touch with the full-on horror of in-flight chatter, and one person concluded their letter with the word 'no' with letter 'o' repeated 213 times."

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Allow it... (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | about 9 months ago | (#45987437)

Allow cell phone calls on airplanes, but only from inside a soundproof booth in the back of the plane.

Re:Allow it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987531)

Then people can fight over the booth.. Wonder how much it would cost to retrofit every plan with a sound-proofed 'room'.

Re:Allow it... (3, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 9 months ago | (#45987587)

Nice compromise, but seating space is already at cattle-car tightness now. I can only imagine what it would squeeze everyone down to if you had to accommodate a frickin' room with soundproofing.

Personally, and as a guy who travels on business a lot, I MUCH prefer that cell phone usage remain banned (data usage okay, but no cell usage).

Why? Two reasons:

1) people are annoying enough - imagine 100-200 of them in a tiny cabin practically yelling into their cell phones.

2) I love not having to answer emails or phone calls while in-flight.

Re:Allow it... (5, Insightful)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 9 months ago | (#45987737)

" (data usage okay, but no cell usage)."

The FCC's job here is to create rules to promote safety. If it's an annoyance issue then the airlines should be the ones making rules about it. We don't need the FCC legislating cell phone use in movie theaters and cell phone use in planes can be dealt with the same way - anyone who won't stop talking on their phone in the theater/plane will be made to leave.

Re:Allow it... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987849)

anyone who won't stop talking on their phone in the plane will be made to leave.

Now there's something we can all agree on!

Re:Allow it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987985)

Hmmm... Talk in a movie theater, get throw out and land on the sidewalk.

Talk on a plane, get thrown out and land on the sidewalk (or ocean, or whatever).....30,000 feet later.

Seems reasonable. Although, in a movie theater, the rest of the patrons do not get thrown out as well. Which would also cut down on the airline's repeat customer possibilities.

Re:Allow it... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45988191)

" (data usage okay, but no cell usage)."

The FCC's job here is to create rules to promote safety. If it's an annoyance issue then the airlines should be the ones making rules about it. We don't need the FCC legislating cell phone use in movie theaters and cell phone use in planes can be dealt with the same way - anyone who won't stop talking on their phone in the theater/plane will be made to leave.

I'm not disagreeing with the general point you're making, but... just how many times did you see cinemas enforce the "no yapping on the phone during the feature"-rule? Me, I have seen that happen exactly 0 times.

Re:Allow it... (1)

c (8461) | about 9 months ago | (#45988309)

We don't need the FCC legislating cell phone use in movie theaters and cell phone use in planes can be dealt with the same way

Well... I'd like to think the FAA should become involved. Allowing behaviour which is pretty much guaranteed to piss of passengers and crews to the point of pulling out weapons (i.e. that shooting in a Florida theater the other day over texting) should be considered a flight safety issue and should be regulated by air safety authorities.

Re:Allow it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45988449)

Either way, if it is not for safety, but annoyance, how enforceable is it going to be? I've seen flight crew struggle to tell passengers to turn off their phones now when it is supposed to be about safety. Once in flight, they can't throw someone out like at a movie theater. Legally, passengers are supposed to respond to instruction from the crew, but is the airline going to want to make a big legal mess over the issue? The crew can kick the person off the flight once they land, but unless the person was staying on the same plane with the same crew, is the airline going to take the effort to blacklist someone from other flights? Probably doesn't matter anyway, as if they find a way to make money from it, they won't be interested in what the majority want if charging the minority makes them more money.

Re:Allow it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45988027)

"(data usage okay, but no cell usage)."

Good thing I got skype...

Re:Allow it... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 months ago | (#45987631)

Allow cell phone calls on airplanes, but only from inside a soundproof booth in the back of the plane.

Preferably one which is neither pressurized nor filled with air, and equipped with an ejection mechanism.

Nobody wants to be stuck on a long flight with some wanker who insists on being on a conference call the whole time. Or some idiot having a fight with his wife. Or someone making kissy-face noises to his girlfriend.

Things will eventually get ugly, and people will get hurt if this happens. I figure under one month before someone completely loses it.

As evidence for this, I remind you someone got shot for texting in a movie theater during the trailers this week. Now, imagine people in a cramped space who have been in airports and airplanes for 8 hours.

Busses allow it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987841)

This doesn't seem to be a problem on long haul bus rides. There's a social contract and most people don't make calls on the bus. I don't see how legalizing it on planes would make a difference.

Then again there was that analogy about the Israeli day care in freakonomics. Once they started charging for parents being late, it became 'ok'. And there was no way to put the genie back in the bottle.

Maybe by legalizing it on planes, it would then change things so that people thought it was socially acceptable to rave about their lives in otherwise quietly confined spaces (like busses). Don't lose your head man.

Re: Allow it... (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 9 months ago | (#45987743)

Or, you know, make sure all passengers are able to request noise-canceling headphones, free of charge. Any frequent and sane flier carries these as a rule, of course.

Re: Allow it... (2)

SylvesterTheCat (321686) | about 9 months ago | (#45987847)

Nice idea, but it doesn't work.

I fly a fair amount.

The "noise" that noise-cancelling headphones cancel are sounds that have a consistent volume, like the constant drone (no pun intended) of the aircraft engines. The headphones do not cancel sounds like other people's conversations, at least not very well.

Re: Allow it... (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 9 months ago | (#45988207)

You are right (they are particularly bad at muffling baby cries to any degree, it seems), but they don't need to be perfect. Especially so if there is a decent selection of stuff to listen to on the armrest jack. Just good enough to keep sanity above zero is what is needed.

Re: Allow it... (2)

djdanlib (732853) | about 9 months ago | (#45987863)

Yup, frequent and sane fliers do. The rest of us who might fly once or twice in our lifetimes would prefer not to hear conference calls on that 12 hour day of flying.

Re: Allow it... (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about 9 months ago | (#45988453)

Right, because someone curling up to go to sleep wants to wear headphones.

Re:Allow it... (1)

NMBob (772954) | about 9 months ago | (#45987833)

Oh great. That's called a lavatory. They'll all be sitting in there yapping while a line forms. Oh wait, you're not allowed to form a line anymore. Airline issued stadium pals?

Re:Allow it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987855)

This is nonsense. I demand that people never talk on phones while in public! Why? Because I don't like it and don't want to hear it, that's why! You may not like it, and it may be more annoying in such a closed-in place, but it's absolutely nonsense to ban something just because you don't like it.

Home of the idiots.

FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (5, Insightful)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 9 months ago | (#45987473)

While I find the idea of being trapped next to someone making a phone call on a plane loathsome, the FCC really shouldn't be in the position of banning things just because they're annoying. If there's no technical/safety reason to ban the calls, allow them. The AIRLINES, on the other hand, really SHOULD ban these calls, and most have already said that they would.

Re:FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (2)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 9 months ago | (#45987523)

Mod Parent up.

It also occurs to me that with net neutrality now banned, the obvious way to do this would be to invite people to use an in-plane wifi that blocks skype and other voice chat programs.

Come to think of it, an in-plane satellite based high latency wifi system you wouldn't even need to filter for, it just plain wouldn't work.

Re:FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (1, Insightful)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 9 months ago | (#45987929)

Couple of things:

1. Net neutrality isn't banned, it's just that the FCC would need to issue new rules to enforce it. The court specifically said that the FCC _could_ enforce net neutrality rules, if it classified ISPs under title II (as common carriers).

2. Even if the rules had remained in place, it wouldn't have prevented inflight providers from blocking certain apps for network performance reasons (Gogo does this this today with video services like Netflix or HBO Go), so long as they were evenhanded about it (i.e. not saying "Netflix is fine, but no HBO Go, since Netflix is paying us and HBO isn't").

Re:FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (3, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 9 months ago | (#45987659)

I also don't see how a US government organisation can ban the act of speech for a non-safety related reason - surely that would violate freedom of speech?

Once the FCC and FAA concluded it was no longer a safety concern, their remit for control of it expired and the only entities that could ban it on "annoyance" grounds would be the airlines that operate the aircraft.

Re: FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (4, Insightful)

Scowler (667000) | about 9 months ago | (#45987803)

Public libraries often ban talking on cell phones, and not on any safety grounds.

Re: FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (3, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | about 9 months ago | (#45988337)

Yes, but individual public libraries aren't the federal government banning them wholesale across an entire swath of private property. Individual libraries have the right to make that decision for themselves. Perhaps they would want to provide specific areas where people could use cell phones, thus people that don't want to be around them can simply stay away from that area. Similarly, why couldn't airlines sell seats in specific sections of the plane (the back perhaps?) where cell phone calls were allowed? That shouldn't be up to the FCC since cell phones have been proven to not crash airplanes through their EMF emissions.

Re: FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (1)

bondsbw (888959) | about 9 months ago | (#45988363)

But I'm not sure that is banning "speech" as it is about banning "speaking". The first is the expression of thought which aligns more with the interpretation of speech in the first amendment. The second is an act of producing sounds from your mouth, which is banned without regard to content.

Re: FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (1)

bondsbw (888959) | about 9 months ago | (#45988479)

And then again, I don't know if public libraries actually kick you out if you are talking.

The librarian may request you to stop talking or to go outside to talk, and others may give you an evil eye, but I'm not sure I've heard of the police dragging someone out. Even if that happened, I would think it would be on grounds of disturbing the peace.

Re:FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about 9 months ago | (#45988271)

It's the FCC. Their argument will be that they're banning a radio tech (and in a specific context, without regard for what ever someone is saying over that radio), not speech itself. See that person in the seat next to you? Tell 'em how unfair King George's tea taxes are, and how unfair it is that Parliament doesn't ave a seat for us. The FCC won't stop you.

The reason we should shoot this down, is that there's no technical reason to ban the tech. The FCC doing this is merely a horrible. unnecessary, and un-American. But it's not unconstitutional. It's not as though the framers ever thought to add "don't be evil." They just assumed we didn't want evil government. Little did they know.

Re:FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 9 months ago | (#45988393)

I also don't see how a US government organisation can ban the act of speech for a non-safety related reason - surely that would violate freedom of speech?

Only if you insist on a direct, literal interpretation of that part of the First Amendment.

Which seems kinda silly.

Re: FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 9 months ago | (#45987665)

I completely agree with you, but how long until an airline gets sued because a passenger was unable to take an emergency-related call? Reasonable policy exceptions must be allowed.

Re: FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (1)

Skater (41976) | about 9 months ago | (#45987693)

I completely agree with you, but how long until an airline gets sued because a passenger was unable to take an emergency-related call? Reasonable policy exceptions must be allowed.

Well, how many times has the government been sued for that very same issue until now?

Re: FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 9 months ago | (#45987913)

Prohibition of calls for safety reasons is a pretty solid legal wall. Well, that wall isn't there any more.

Re: FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (1)

alen (225700) | about 9 months ago | (#45987757)

forever

if you need to take emergency related calls 24x7 then sit by a phone the whole time. even on the ground cellular service is not 100% reliable on every square inch of the USA

Re: FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 9 months ago | (#45987785)

I completely agree with you, but how long until an airline gets sued because a passenger was unable to take an emergency-related call?

Why can't the emergency message be sent as a text? Also, the airlines could allow phone calls in part of the plane, such as the back 10 rows. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

Re: FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 9 months ago | (#45988131)

I completely agree with you, but how long until an airline gets sued because a passenger was unable to take an emergency-related call? Reasonable policy exceptions must be allowed.

How is that different from a user whose phone battery ran out? Or one who forgot to top up his pay-as-you-go plan? Or one who has turned off their phone in a cinema? Has any cinema ever been sued because someone was unable to take an emergency-related call? What about a person who doesn't have a mobile phone?

Re: FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 9 months ago | (#45988465)

Cinemas don't prevent you from walking outside the theatre half-way through the movie.

Re:FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987713)

That's fine, right up until 1 airline allows it, and you start seeing their flight prices just a nudge below everyone elses. Mark my words, in flight calls WILL become a selling point for the airlines somewhere down the line.

Re:FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 9 months ago | (#45987939)

And they will scrape up that small percentage who don't find it annoying. The rest shall fly in peace.

Re:FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (2)

ErichTheRed (39327) | about 9 months ago | (#45988259)

"That's fine, right up until 1 airline allows it, and you start seeing their flight prices just a nudge below everyone elses. "

Very good point. I'm in the airline IT business. Airlines may be deregulated in the US, but every time one does something, the others follow. If Delta raises or lowers their fares by $10, United will do the same thing, often the same day. Same thing goes for inflight service changes -- if something that was free suddenly becomes an "ancillary revenue stream," you can bet that the other carriers will do this as soon as they can make the systems changes necessary to collect said fee. There are a couple of low cost carriers (Southwest, JetBlue) that don't exactly follow this model, but service is so homogenized that all the carriers might as well merge. So if one carrier starts allowing calls, everyone will, but i don't know if people will take that one lying down. The airlines have all been cutting capacity and stuffing more people into coach for years -- this would be a pretty big slap in the face IMO.

Re:FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987739)

Agreed, however airlines don't really ban things. Oversized bags are still allowed in overhead bins despite a continuous cycle of recorded warnings and fake displays illustrating what an oversize bag is.

Re:FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987825)

You mean like extremely loud adverts at night in the middle of a very quiet film? Seeing as people are assholes, you'd rather they get to do what they like when the like despite it being totally unacceptable? You obviously don't fly much, does your mom still walk you to the school bus?

Re:FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | about 9 months ago | (#45987829)

But but but... the government has to tell us how to live our lives. Without the government we won't know how to treat other people or that we are supposed to breath air to survive. Could you imagine the chaos if the government told us they did not require us to breathe air? People would try to breath sand in the unregulated aftermath.

Re:FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (-1, Flamebait)

evilRhino (638506) | about 9 months ago | (#45988375)

Don't be absurd. If you're really concerned about government over-regulation of breathing, I recommend you go to a heavily populated area in either India or China. Our government doesn't need to tell us to breathe, but emission controls here actually do improve your experience. Truth of the matter is that we do need some common entity to oversee things like flying. I suppose next you'll say that we don't need the government telling airlines how to secure their cockpits, schedule takeoffs and landings to avoid collisions, or inspect their planes for mechanical failures, etc.

Re:FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987947)

They should require it to be prominently displayed during ticket purchase whether or not voice is permitted.

Americans are psycho. Really. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45988077)

Damn straight. "I only like some of the offerings on the market, not all of them" is a "you problem," not a government problem.

I remember when the same kind of nanny state shit happened with smoking in bars, in my city. Some bars prohibited smoking. Some bars allowed it. It was perfect: Everyone was happy and could drink at (or work at, or own) exactly the kind of place they wanted. Everyone wins. If you wanted to smoke, you could. If you didn't want to breathe someone else's toxic exhaust, you didn't have to. Everyone was happy except the Nazis, that is, who wanted to go to smoking-allowed bars and have there not be smoke there. So now all the bars in my town are non-smoking, not because that's what the customers or the owners or the staff wanted wanted, but because that's what the voters' representatives wanted. Ridiculous.

Airlines that want to have a "no sanity-shattering cocophany" can attract the customers who value that. Airlines that want to have a "sure, spend the flight yapping about bullshit" service can attract the customers who value that. Everyone wins and no customers will ever have any reason to complain about anything, if we go that way.

So: what the fuck, my fellow Americans? Is this land of the free, or not? What kind of country do you want to live in? You people sure like to bitch about losing freedoms, but you constantly advocate against freedom too, and keep re-electing Republicrats. STOP BEING SO PSYCHO!!

Re:FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45988099)

How would you even do that anyway. The engine is so frikkin loud on a plane I wouldn't be able to hear the person I'm talking to... The mic can probably filter out the plane so they can hear me but that does nothing for me hearing them.

Re:FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45988235)

Talking on a cell phone should be treated the same as it is in movie theaters here...the person should be escorted to the door and made to leave the plane. And I don't mean if its on the ground...and no parachute!

Slashdot sucks nigger cocks (-1, Troll)

fucck slashdot (3503541) | about 9 months ago | (#45987487)

You are now being raped by a horse

Can't people be disconnected? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987501)

Seriously. Even on trans-pacific 12+ hour flights, its *nice* to be disconnected once and awhile, let alone little domestic hoppers. Put down your cell phones, Google glAss, 3G tablets. Read a book (or eReader), disconnect.

Cage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987563)

Can't they run mesh over the windows and make the interior a faraday cage or something?

Re:Cage? (1)

ElementOfDestruction (2024308) | about 9 months ago | (#45987859)

All I asked for were sharks with freaking laser beams attached to their heads!

They are mutated sea bass.

Are they ill-tempered?

Very.

Allow. (5, Funny)

nblender (741424) | about 9 months ago | (#45987551)

Allow people to make phone calls while in-flight... However, they should be asked to step outside for the duration of their phone call.

Re:Allow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45988179)

Eliminating the talking on an airplane is like eliminating the smooth jazz at the dentist. YOU'RE STILL AT THE DENTIST.

Stop fooling yourself and face reality. FLYING IS HELL. From the moment you set foot in the airport, to the moment you step out of the airport on the other end, you are entirely at the mercy of both government AND the aviation industry. They OWN you for that time. Therefore, your only recourse is to bang it out as efficiently as possible. Put your effort into efficiency planning, rather than micro-managing the other patrons of hell, who are just as miserable and frustrated as you are.

Given the choice between a 10-hour obligation to the best seat in hell, or a 5-hour obligation to the worst, which would you choose? Now that's a trick question, because THEY BOTH PUT YOU IN HELL.

Get over it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987573)

I would much prefer that people be allowed to talk on their phones. Then I do not have to have them chatting me up while I am trying to read or enjoy some music.

Re:Get over it (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 9 months ago | (#45987783)

I would much prefer that people be allowed to talk on their phones. Then I do not have to have them chatting me up while I am trying to read or enjoy some music.

Um. RIght. Chatting you up.

The Elle forum is --> thataway.

Smell of Astroturf? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987579)

It's really that big a problem? Kinda like the relaxation of pocketknives rule? With respect to anyone so offended, it ain't a movie theater. Shut up, buy some earplugs, and deal.

Re:Smell of Astroturf? (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 9 months ago | (#45987751)

okay hows about this lets say you have a 5 by 10 section of airplane (total 50 seats) of those 12 folks are trying to deal with Pteromerhanophobia claustrophobia and or acrophobia (and may be drinking) also you have 9 vets with cracked heads (PTSD and Schizoaffective with a side order of Bipolar) add to to that a few GangBangers.

Do you really want to be in seat F5 when somebody has a panic attack (in D2) and starts getting violent??

Re:Smell of Astroturf? (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 9 months ago | (#45987763)

Even texting on cell phones in theaters get you shot now, so...

...I guess that'll work for airplanes too.

Really? (1)

east coast (590680) | about 9 months ago | (#45987581)

People are running for a government solution when there isn't even a problem yet? And you wonder how they feel that warrentless wiretapping and text scanning isn't seen as a problem by these same kinds of people?

I personally don't want to see it either but another peice of legislation isn't the required route for this.

Re:Really? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 9 months ago | (#45988443)

People are running for a government solution when there isn't even a problem yet? And you wonder how they feel that warrentless wiretapping and text scanning isn't seen as a problem by these same kinds of people?

I personally don't want to see it either but another peice of legislation isn't the required route for this.

The FCC does not produce legislation, Congress does.

Imagine (5, Insightful)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | about 9 months ago | (#45987589)

A night flight. The plane is quiet.

Suddenly,

"Yeah, I couldn't sleep... No, they've fed us.... HA HA HA HA HA!!! Yeah, that's right! HA HA HA HA HA!!! I know what you mean and there's that.... HA HA HA HA HA!!!! Do you remember that?... HA HA HA HA HA!!!"

Re:Imagine (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 9 months ago | (#45987809)

So you're saying knifes, sticks & fire should be allowed on planes..... Hmm I agree.

Re:Imagine (5, Funny)

quixote9 (999874) | about 9 months ago | (#45987823)

Exactly. So much for it not being a safety issue. Homicides are a safety issue.

Re:Imagine (2, Insightful)

mjr167 (2477430) | about 9 months ago | (#45987899)

A night flight. The plane is quiet.

Suddenly...

Mommy... I have to pee... Mommy... I need a glass of water. Mommy... why does the man sitting next to us have this funny mask over his eyes? Is he playing a game? Can I play too? HEY! Do you have an extra mask? What are we playing?

Re:Imagine (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 9 months ago | (#45988459)

A night flight. The plane is quiet.

Suddenly...

Mommy... I have to pee... Mommy... I need a glass of water. Mommy... why does the man sitting next to us have this funny mask over his eyes? Is he playing a game? Can I play too? HEY! Do you have an extra mask? What are we playing?

What's your point? That, because one potential annoyance already exists, we should allow all potential annoyances?

Re:Imagine (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987979)

A night flight. The plane is quiet.

...

You obviously don't fly much.

The idea that one person in the row in front of you talking on a cell phone is somehow more annoying than the two people in the row behind you gabbing away with the light on is insane.

If you want Airlines to enforce "quiet time" that's fine. (they could start by cutting out those @$@#$ PA announcements) But to suggest that cell phone usage would be different than all the annoyances in the cabin already misses the point.

Re:Imagine (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45988193)

As a United 1k flyer, if you fly mostly business traveler routes, the night flights (red eyes) are generally very quiet. Cell phones will disturb this. This obviously doesn't apply to things like flights out of Florida or Vegas which are always noisy.

Re:Imagine (2)

wiredog (43288) | about 9 months ago | (#45988313)

The plane is quiet.
I don't think anyone is going to be sleeping after the engines have shut down.

Re:Imagine (1)

Dan East (318230) | about 9 months ago | (#45988353)

Yeah, that's the downside of not owning your own airplane. Sucks doesn't it?

Re:Imagine (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 9 months ago | (#45988367)

Not any worse then some baby crying the whole time and won't STFU when you're trying to sleep / read / meditate / etc.

Re:Imagine (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 9 months ago | (#45988389)

And imagine how much worse it would be if the person was using a cell phone too!

They just want to be able to turn off their phones (1)

Drewdad (1738014) | about 9 months ago | (#45987613)

Imagine your boss calling you in the middle of a three-hour flight....

213 times? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987645)

one person concluded their letter with the word 'no' with letter 'o' repeated 213 times.

Someone counted them? I guess they have to give the interns something to do.

Re:213 times? (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 9 months ago | (#45987831)

The sad thing is, there are people in this office that would have printed and counted by hand :(

Who says Americans are politically apathetic? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987675)

Malcontent libtards that don't get their way.

Regulate Manners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987797)

So what people want is for the government to use their massive power over us, to enforce proper manners.

Ever wonder where the Nanny state came from? Democrazy.

YOU CAN'T MAKE CALLS IN FLIGHT (1, Interesting)

areusche (1297613) | about 9 months ago | (#45987801)

I seriously wonder why this debate continues. I've left my phone on and tried to use it during flight. I can't get a signal. Period. This entire debate is superfluous unless the airlines want to put microcells on the places and charge an arm and a leg for it like they used to for the in seat phones. If the call is that important, they can pay the $5 a minute to make the call.

Re:YOU CAN'T MAKE CALLS IN FLIGHT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987991)

Why do you think it'd cost so much?

Southwest only charged $5/flight for wifi.

It's a bit sketchy, but I think you can (3, Insightful)

monkeyhybrid (1677192) | about 9 months ago | (#45988105)

I've never tried to make a call but I have happily sent texts during a flight before. I can't say I paid much attention to it at the time, but I'm pretty sure I had a good bar or two of reception, at least whilst over land, so I'm guessing a call could have worked ok too. I'm sure the sitting-in-a-metal-tube thing won't help but presumably the windows allow enough RF to pass through.

Also, some of the passengers of 'flight 93' made calls to their loved ones during the 9/11 hijackings.

SMS: Yes Talking: No (1)

CHK6 (583097) | about 9 months ago | (#45987817)

I would be fine with SMS texting only. But allowing people to talk on their phone, would be a huge discomfort to passengers. The problem is most people (including me) talk louder when on the phone. A little of this falls on the lack of good technology to allow quiet conversations to take place on phone calls.

In the end I hope FCC continues the ban of talking on the phone while in flight, but allowing texting.

Re:SMS: Yes Talking: No (1)

ttucker (2884057) | about 9 months ago | (#45987959)

I would be fine with SMS texting only. But allowing people to talk on their phone, would be a huge discomfort to passengers. The problem is most people (including me) talk louder when on the phone. A little of this falls on the lack of good technology to allow quiet conversations to take place on phone calls. In the end I hope FCC continues the ban of talking on the phone while in flight, but allowing texting.

The silly thing about this debate is that the FCC regulates RF spectrum, and the FAA regulates aviation safety, but the only thing anyone can say about cell phones on airplanes is that people use them in an annoying manner... sometimes. Complain to your airline, friends, business associates, and family... but please do not stand in the way of technology to prevent what you think might be a mild annoyance.

More distressing than apathy (2, Insightful)

operagost (62405) | about 9 months ago | (#45987827)

This is worse than apathy.

Americans are now wholly incapable of thinking for themselves. Instead of insisting that airlines provide the service they want, and voting with their money, they want to tell the government to force everyone to go along with those who shout the loudest. If there's no safety issue with cell phones, is it even the government's business? Most airlines will ban phone usage, except perhaps in business class or wherever else warranted. Some won't, and for those who can't cut the (totally nonexistent) cord they'll choose those airlines.

I find it hypocritical that anyone who believes in personal liberties should support the government regulating behavior they find annoying.

Who really gains from this? (1)

faffod (905810) | about 9 months ago | (#45987873)

Who really wins if the FAA/FCC ban inflight cell coverage? The airlines that have built a pay service for internet connections. If we allow cellular coverage in the air, they lose a revenue stream. The airlines already have processes in place for annoying passengers. If you are really annoyed by the person next to you they don't need new rules to deal with yapping on a cell phone. On the other hand, I would enjoy being able to read news while traveling. I would enjoy getting work done with reference materials available while traveling. Please don't knee jerk away a gain for consumers.

Re:Who really gains from this? (1)

ttucker (2884057) | about 9 months ago | (#45988007)

Who really wins if the FAA/FCC ban inflight cell coverage? The airlines that have built a pay service for internet connections. If we allow cellular coverage in the air, they lose a revenue stream. The airlines already have processes in place for annoying passengers. If you are really annoyed by the person next to you they don't need new rules to deal with yapping on a cell phone. On the other hand, I would enjoy being able to read news while traveling. I would enjoy getting work done with reference materials available while traveling. Please don't knee jerk away a gain for consumers.

Nobody wins. Airlines are prevented from providing inflight cellular service. Consumers are prevented from having more choices.

Unless the executive branch of government wants more control of our personal lives, in that case at least some entity wins.

No talking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987897)

The problem I've seen with all of the discussion on this is that everyone seems to discuss it as if it were a voice-only kind of scenario. In all actuality, I don't think that most people would have a problem with phones and other mobile devices, in silent or quiet mode, used for text-based communications. I travel a significant amount every year and while the chatty A-Hole sitting next to me yelling into his phone (which currently happens quite often during boarding) would definitely cause a significant amount of tension, someone sitting next to me texting away wouldn't bother me in the least.

Re:No talking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45988455)

Texting would be about the same as someone doing work on his/her laptop ... something that I see in every flight I take. Not an issue at all.

So I agree that there is no issue with silent communication is acceptable ... but voice would be a be adding to the annoying factor.

Yes allow it. No Big deal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45987933)

There's no difference between someone calling in a flight or a bus ride or a train. And I can sleep during those modes of transportation just fine. Sure, you get one jerk that does talk loud or a bunch of babies crying through the trip, but that is hardly because of cell phone use..

An interesting factoid... (1)

toonces33 (841696) | about 9 months ago | (#45987949)

Many cellphones - even if in airplane mode - still allow the GPS antenna to be used. You won't be able to download maps while in airplane mode, but if you are just using a simple app like "GPSTest" (which displays coordinates/speed), it works just fine.

not their job (1, Insightful)

Xicor (2738029) | about 9 months ago | (#45988005)

the fcc is not responsible for making laws preventing annoyance... they are responsible for safety. it shouldnt be up to the FCC to ban talking on cell phones, it should be up to the airline to decide whether they want to ban talking or not.

I hope inflight mobile use stays banned. (3, Interesting)

ErichTheRed (39327) | about 9 months ago | (#45988025)

Thankfully I have a shorter commute these days, but my last job involved an hour-and-a-half trip each direction on the train. The thing that bothered me most wasn't the time, the crowded trains, the hours i had to get up in the morning. No, it was the people yapping on their phones. Imagine a 5:50 AM commuter train with totally dead people half-asleep, then some idiot starts screaming into their phone and doesn't shut up for the entire trip. Now imagine that same scenario, but now you're inches away from that idiot crammed into a coach seat for a 14 hour flight to Japan. I fly a fair amount of these incredibly long trips for work, and I think I'd rather poke a hole in my eardrums with a sharp instrument than listen to 14 hours of inane banter or some exec screaming at his subordinate or assistant.

People just don't get that (a) you don't need to shout anymore, and (b) no one wants to hear about the divorce case you're working on, the colon polyp you had removed, your escapades out at the bar last night, your cat, your dog, your kids or any of the large number of conversations I've heard.

The other thing that's nice for the truly crazy business people I know (I'm not one of them) is that airplane time is dead time -- no one is sending you messages, no one can reach you, etc.

Re:I hope inflight mobile use stays banned. (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 9 months ago | (#45988281)

People just don't get that (a) you don't need to shout anymore

I heard this was because mobile phones don't echo (instantly) back your own voice like a landline does. Either the echo convinces your brain that you're talking too loudly, or the fact that you don't hear it on a mobile phone convinces your brain that something's broken and you need to shout louder. I'd guess the former, given that today's young'uns still seem to be doing it, dagnabbit.

cell phone conversations are allowed on trains (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45988103)

and i don't find them the least bit annoying.

i think it would be very similar for airplanes.

Re:cell phone conversations are allowed on trains (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 9 months ago | (#45988403)

Please mod parent up.

Darth Vader wrote in? (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 9 months ago | (#45988301)

one person concluded their letter with the word 'no' with letter 'o' repeated 213 times.

Ah. The voice of reason.

Is this really a *problem*? (1)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about 9 months ago | (#45988331)

Airlines have had wired phones on seat backs for years without any problems or public outcry. The only difference between them and cell phones are that the users don't have to pay the airline to use their cell phones.

Sure it's annoying to have the person next to you yacking on a cell phone, but it's also annoying to have them snoring, talking loudly, crying, etc.

We need to stop making a big deal out of the fact the we're annoyed and appreciate the fact that we can travel thousands of miles without anybody die from scurvy, malnutrition, or attacks from unfriendly people or wild animals.

Wait, wait, there's more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45988361)

Why not go the other way? We should be stripped naked, strapped into cages, and loaded in the most efficient way possible. You want food? You'll get the IV. Have to go to the bathroom? It will trickle through the cage, don't worry.

The FCC shouldn't have to deal with people complaining about using their phones. The FCC should just decide if it causes electrical interference if someone uses their phone while on the plane. Let the airline company decide how to implement cellphone usage. It would be like the FCC stating that you can't use a cellphone while in a theater - it just may get your killed (too soon?)

Change in "Airplane Mode" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45988371)

Airplane mode would need to be changed by handset manufactures.

When Airplane Mode is "on":
A. Cellular antenna is now on.
B. All sounds, and vibrations made by the handset are turned off, except via the headphone jack.
C. When an incoming phone call comes in, there is no visible indicator of an incoming call, there is no way for the phone to answer the incoming call or to see that someone called. An optional outgoing recording to the caller that the user is in airplane mode may be supported.
D. Microphone is disabled and not available to any data apps.
E. Text messages can be sent and received, but all sounds and vibrations are still disabled in Airplane mode (except via headphones)
F. When Airplane mode is turned off, Missed messages and Voicemail indicators become visible.
G. Switching in and out of Airplane mode could be automatic for some phones as traveling at Airplane speeds and rapidly switching cell phone towers could be determined pretty easily. This would stop cheaters.

Better hardware or education (2, Insightful)

aviators99 (895782) | about 9 months ago | (#45988383)

Philosophically speaking, it doesn't make sense to ban people talking on the phone and not ban people talking to the person next to them. I've never heard anyone asking the FCC (or slightly more reasonably the FAA) to regulate the volume people can speak on the plane.

Practically speaking, people tend to speak more loudly when they are speaking on the phone. Normally, this is not necessary. Part of the problem is that unlike landlines (remember them?), you don't get the feedback in the earpiece of your own voice when you're speaking on a mobile phone. Psychologically, this creates a desire to "speak up". This could be helped immensely big changing the way the hardware works.

You could also require the use of some sort of external headset that provides feedback and eliminates background noise better than the existing phones.

Most importantly, educating people that they don't need to speak that loudly into mobile phones could go a long way. And not only on airplanes.

Annoying but Not Dangerous (2)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 9 months ago | (#45988405)

Cellphones on plane would be annoying, but as long as it's not dangerous, that's purely a business problem. The FCC shouldn't be getting involved with enforcing various people's aesthetics on others; that's not it's job.

213 times? (1)

hduff (570443) | about 9 months ago | (#45988463)

I like that person.

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