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US law makers seek ban on in-flight calls

'Noisome disruption in search of further revenue'

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A group of US congressmen have introduced legislation which would ban the use of mobile phones on US aircraft, attempting to "ensure a relative amount of peace for the American public as they take to an increasingly crowded sky".

The particularly stupidly-named HANG UP Act (Halting Airplane Noise to Give Us Peace) seeks to ban the use of mobile phones for voice calls. Ridiculously overpriced seat-back-mounted handsets would still be allowed, and passengers could send and receive text messages, as well as accessing the internet via their mobile.

The group quotes figures that have 63 per cent of Americans against the use of mobiles on planes. "Polls show that the American public is strongly opposed to allowing cell phone use in-flight," said Jerry Costello, one of the four congressmen who are all members of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. "The HANG UP Act will make sure it does not happen."

Peter DeFazio, the act's primary sponsor, says: "Our bill... would ensure that financially-strapped airlines don’t drive us towards this noisome disruption in search of further revenue."

The group also plays the safety card, claiming that flight attendants will have to break up fights between those making calls and those forced to listen to them - not to mention that passengers will miss important safety announcements.

The problem with consulting the public is that everyone is against using mobile phones on aircraft, unless they have an important call to make.

For politicians this kind of legislation is great, however - it has a near-zero chance of becoming law, allowing them to look as though they're fighting for public rights while actually doing nothing at all. ®

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