Frequent fliers, rejoice!
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will mark up a bill Tuesday to ban cell-phone calls during commercial flight.
The bill is being shepherded by Chairman Bill Shuster, and it quickly picked up 29 cosponsors after hitting the floor in December.
Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican, introduced his legislation in response to a 3-2 vote by the Federal Communications Commission to open public comments on a proposal to allow in-flight calls once a plane ascends above 10,000 feet. The decision, backed by newly appointed FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, touched off a furious firestorm across the country and in Congress, as fears of future flights filled with chatty seat neighbors escalated.
"I do not want the person in the seat next to me yapping at 35,000 feet any more than anyone else," Wheeler famously remarked ahead of the FCC vote. "But we are not the Federal Courtesy Commission."
Polls taken during the uproar show that most people prefer calls remain strictly off-limits while a plane is in the air.
The FCC's approval of a comment period on the proposal, of course, does not mean the commissioners have determined whether to ultimately go forward with the idea. Several procedural hurdles remain.
This article appears in the February 11, 2014 edition of NJ Daily.