Cell hell: Mobile phones on planes
American legislators are again discussing the ban on mobile-phone calls on the country's planes. This time the issue is not one of risk, but of consideration.
Gulliver does not intend to go over the safety aspects of using cell phones in a cabin again here; we have covered that topic many times. Suffice to say there has clearly been a certain amount of obfuscation about the supposed dangers, and this has rankled many passengers. But the upshot of being misled is that people tend to frame the discussion around whether they have a right to use their phones. It is pitched as an argument of common sense and even morality; of the little guy taking on the illogical bureaucrats. But Bill Shuster, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives' transport and infrastructure committee, who is sponsoring the bill to ban phones, is taking a more sensible angle. “Airplane cabins are by nature noisy, crowded and confined,” he is quoted as saying in Avionics Today. “In our day-to-day lives, when we find someone’s cell-phone call to be too loud, too close, or too personal, we can just walk away. But at 30,000 feet, there’s nowhere else for an airline passenger to go."