WASHINGTON -- If a new proposal to allow cell phone calls on commercial airplane flights might gets grounded before it even takes off.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Thomas Wheeler told Congress Thursday that he supports the idea of lifting a ban on in-flight cell phone calls. Later that day, the FCC moved to review its rules on calls in flights above 10,000 feet.
But Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) is the leading Democrat in a bipartisan effort to stop high-flying phone calls. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) has also thrown his support behind keeping the ban.
“Imagine being stuck between two passengers who are carrying on personal phone conversations. There is absolutely no escape. How long will it be before a fight breaks out mid-flight?” DeFazio said on Wednesday.
At Portland International Airport Thursday, few had anything good to say about the idea of ending the 22-year-old ban.
A recent poll showed 48 percent of respondents didn’t like the idea of ending the ban with 19 percent wanting to lift restriction with 30 percent of people have no opinion.
But opposition goes to 78 percent, for frequent fliers.
“That would not be good at all,” said frequent air traveler Darrel Meisenheimer. “There’s no way to have good phone etiquette that close to everybody else.”
Many simply didn’t think cell phone conversations and commercial airliners are a good combination.
“As a flight attendant it would drive me bonkers,” said Kara Judd. “It’s already hard enough to find out what people want to drink without having to say can you pause your phone call for just one second.”