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back to article 'Disruptive, irritating' in-flight cellphone call ban mulled by US Senate

The US Senate is considering a bill that would ban in-flight cellphone calls. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) crafted the bipartisan legislation to outlaw voice calls on all commercial flights. The bill would still allow passengers to use mobile devices for texting, plus web browsing and other data …

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Mobile Calling Area

I have misgivings at enshrining a nascent social convention in federal law. However, there does need to be some mechanism to allow those who wish to talk to do so without disturbing those who do not wish to hear people talking.

So I propose a dedicated space on airplanes for people who want to talk on their cellphones. In fact, to make it easily accessible, there should be multiple doors; say, two at the front of the plane, two over the wings, and two at the rear of the plane...

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Re: Mobile Calling Area

What about some soundproof enclosure for each passenger.

Something like a 1950's hairdresser dryer thing on each seat

Alternately just let people make phone calls AND have guns on board

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Re: Mobile Calling Area

My thoughts were running along the same lines. Creative insertion of a soda can might be the last resort.

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Joke

Re: Mobile Calling Area

How about they go outside, on the wing ...

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Re: Mobile Calling Area

maxwell smart's cone of silence...

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Ban them entirely

Ban them entirely or expect an increase in the number of bodies falling out of the sky along the aircrafts flight path.

Hard hat anyone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ban them entirely

So if you have an aisle seat, you're going to have to get up for the twat every time he makes a phone call.

What would be easier would be to have a law that says it's legal to punch anyone who uses a phone on a plane. And in case that person's someone you might feel guilty about punching (old ladies, pregnant women, children etc.) you should be allowed to stamp on the phone, or even better, be allowed to call or text anyone in the phone's address book and say what you want to them.

I realise this may not work well in practice.

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Re: Ban them entirely

To be fair many planes have had phones on a lot of seats for a long time, they have just been $10 a minute to use which pretty much cut out the random shouting of mcdonalds orders. Just allow texting and require phones to be on vibrate.

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Megaphone

Re: Mobile Calling Area

Better yet, follow the advise of Agent 86 and use the Cone of Silence.

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Alert

Re: Mobile Calling Area

What about some soundproof enclosure for each passenger.

Something like a 1950's hairdresser dryer thing on each seat

The "cone of silence" from Get Smart?

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Alert

Re: Ban them entirely

What would be easier would be to have a law that says it's legal to punch anyone who uses a phone on a plane.

Can we have this on trains and buses too, please?

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Odd coming from Feinstein

That's precious time when people could be making phone calls for her friends in the NSA to tap.

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WTF?

Quick, inappropriately enshrine some more things in law!

No farting on the bus. No belching in the pub.

Has a megajoule glare from a purse-mouthed old woman lost all power?

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Paris Hilton

Re: Quick, inappropriately enshrine some more things in law!

Not only has it lost its power, but it is likely to result in bodily harm to the old women.

Rules of courtesy become law because people are too damn stupid, selfish and down-right mean to care about harming other people.

That's why. ------------------------------------------------->>

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Pint

High flying irony!

Courtesy legislation? From the US Congress?

Beer - because I need one now...

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Anonymous Coward

Easy fix

Permit in-flight data, but for voice communications go back to the way that it was in the late '80s and early '90s and re-install airphones in every seat.

If something truly important happens that absolutely requires that you make that phone call, swipe your card and spend the $4.95/minute to make it. Otherwise, wait until the flight is back on the ground to use your mobile or email the people you need to contact and pass your messages to them in silence.

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Re: Easy fix

If you allow data but don't have a ban on calling, people could still Skype, Facetime, etc.

In fact, they're virtually certain to use that as I'm sure if they install a microcell on the airplane so that phones can operate beyond wifi it'll be just as pricey as the old Airphones hardly anyone ever used unless they were on an expense account.

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Re: Easy fix

Charge $$$ for voice calling, and introduce significant latency for data[*]. That ought to allow web browsing but make speech near-impossible. Hopefully only those on expense accounts and flying in the posh seats up front would be using voice calling, leaving the rest of us crowded in the back in relative peace.

[*] There's a chance that if it's satellite-based, there's already a significant latency, about 230ms out to a geostationary satellite and back plus whatever other processing time is required.

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Re: Easy fix

"[*] There's a chance that if it's satellite-based, there's already a significant latency, about 230ms out to a geostationary satellite and back plus whatever other processing time is required."

People can be patient enough to wait on the lag of a voice conversation. Sat phones are sometimes used in the news for video transmissions in remote locations where better equipment isn't available, so people are getting used to the idea of a laggy conversation.

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Re: Easy fix

The lag is only an issue if the person involved in a conversation is responding to what the other person is saying.

For the sort of person that is going to talk on a cell phone for the length of a flight, listening to somebody on the other end is unlikely to be a major concern.

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Re: Easy fix

If you allow data but don't have a ban on calling, people could still Skype, Facetime, etc.

DAMNED STRAIGHT!!

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Re: Easy fix

leaving the rest of us crowded in the back in relative peace.

So that I can get a better aural experience of hearing your Brat whine all the across the Atlantic... I'll make ya a deal I chuck my Phone over the wing if you do the same with your little "Nuisance".. Deal?!

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Happy

Re: Easy fix

"spend the $4.95/minute to make it"

I can already see the frowny faces of people holding their $2000+ phone bill their child ran up phoning their friend to gloat over spending $1000 on in app purchases to get the ultra deluxe Smurf apartment, recharges energy 5% faster.

Wont somebody think of the children!

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What's sad here is, just like many laws in the US, some law has to be created to (try and) stop people from being inconsiderate or plain (plane) stupid. I hate the fact that the moron next to me feels that he is so important that he needs to check in or micromanage waaaaay to often than needed.

Hey hoss, the world goes on without you.you are NOT as important as you think you are, not even by half.

And what happens if they choose not to agree? Seriously, some little fish complains about some idiot fish with more clout? Money talks. That's what.

I can see how this ends. People with money will be allowed to blab all they want but let someone check on their sick mom and......

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Joke

So are they going to outlaw the screaming kids on the plane?

Here's hoping.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So are they going to outlaw the screaming kids on the plane?

No, but they should just use duct tape on them though. They won't be kicking seats, screaming or anything else. Better yet, make the parents sit in front of their kids. I'd encourage the kid to kick the seat.

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Re: So are they going to outlaw the screaming kids on the plane?

Isn't that what overhead lockers are for?

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Re: So are they going to outlaw the screaming kids on the plane?

Paraphrasing the old adage: "Behind every great man is a great woman" - behind every screaming kid kicking the seat in front of it is an idiot parent. This "parent" (quotes intended) is usually of the kind that makes you start considering that the right to parenting should be subject to a license.

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Re: So are they going to outlaw the screaming kids on the plane?

Having chosen not to have children myself, I have always thought there should be some sort of licence for parenting. It might even put an end to the f*ckwits who consider taking their little darlings to the pub and then ignoring them as a suitable alternative to babysitting.

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Healer, heal thyself!

> consideration for passengers who would otherwise be subjected to the chatter of others.

So a giant first step in that direction would be to outlaw US politicians - especially ones who appear on TV with half-arsed suggestions, opinions and comments. The ones who spend their whole terms asleep or crawling up to their rich masters sponsors - they're OK (apart from the damage they do to democracy, obv.)

As for the "cure" for all aircraft audio annoyances? Hearos

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A funny thing happened to me..

..onm the way to - well its not germane. I waiting for the lift..while some bloke burbled into his phone as blokes do. We got into the lift. I noticed it was lined in a delicately embossed stainless steel. I checked, yes, cold, its steel not plastic..the similarly clad doors closed, and the bloke, who had followed me in continued to talk for at least 20 seconds before stopping looking at his phone and them making a disgusted noise.

I refrained from a full Patagonian war dance, and confined myself to saying 'surprised you got any signal inside a totally metal box' ..

Theres the answer. conductive glass windows in the plane, and aluminium foil. No need for a law at all.

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Flame

"The bill would still allow passengers to use mobile devices for texting"

Great, provided that the only text alert allowed is a silent-mode vibration.

I once had the misfortune to be in the Quiet Coach of a train with some idiot who, fine, wasn't *talking* on his phone, but his text alert was the Tarzan yell. After him getting about a dozen texts in five minutes I asked him politely to turn the bloody sound off to which he replied "Oh, sorry, I didn't know it was bothering anyone..."

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Re: "The bill would still allow passengers to use mobile devices for texting"

And people who don't turn OFF the keyboard bleeps!

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Or maybe...

They treat people like considerate members of society who would be able to use their phones, but would do so in a manner that would be mindful of their fellow passengers.

Of course pass a law that would allow cabin crew to stun gun the token obnoxious arsehole <- Being rude, noisy, shoving their chair back without being mindful of the situation etc etc etc

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Pint

This works for me

I ride the train fairly often, and they allow cellphone use. I have found that a good way to quiet a motor-mouth is to simply show an active interest in their conversation. Open a pad of paper and start taking notes if they don't get the hint. Write down what they say and underline it for full effect. Nod your head in agreement. Toss in an occasional verbal "Amen!" for emphasis.

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Anonymous Coward

enshrined in common sense

A politician talking sense?! Something fishy, surely!

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Anonymous Coward

Careless Talk Costs Lives

That WW2 slogan is very apt here. It is not only talking on phones in confined spaces that can end up cousting you or your company money, just loudly (or not) discussinb the meeting/deal that you have just done is downright dangerous. In the confines of an Aircraft? You should be ejected at the earliest opportunity.

I overheard a conversation between two Civil Servants on a train from Manchester to Euston. They were discussing with a good deal of glee how they were going to screw the company into the ground so that they made less then $5 profit on an item costing $2000.

I called the MD of the company who was livid. The Company withdrew from the deal. I got a bottle of Champers for my trouble and the Army lost the use of a really nice bit of kit simply because of the careless talk in a confined space.

Since then (that was in the early 1980's) I never talk business while travelling on a train or by Air. If I could make/receive phone calls while flying, I will have no hesitation about extending that rule to include my mobile phone.

You know it make sense.

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Re: Careless Talk Costs Lives

Since it is difficult to tell what constitutes "careless talk", I prefer not to talk about anything at all when travelling using mass transport. It drives my wife mad, especially when I send her a text advising her that what she is at the side of me talking about is too personal/trivial/important/revealing, and that I would like her to stop talking about it - but it works! I certainly never use the phone when anyone else can hear ... and that includes when I'm at home talking to our mutual friends!

Paranoia is a survival tactic.

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Really, allowing mobile phone calls on aircraft would make flying a perfect storm of fucking awfulness - as if it's not bad enough already!

SD

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Yea, you shouldn't make laws on this, it should be up to the airlines, if someone thinks they will get a competitive advantage by banning calls themselves then let them try that and the market will naturally decide by how many people choose to fly with which airline. However if no one changes their actions and all carry on talking, clearly no one really cares.

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Anonymous Coward

Noise cancelling headphones

This is why you should always carry Noise canceling headphones.

When the noisy person starts up, you pop a fresh battery in, press the button on the top, wait for the red light to come on indicating that the unit is ready, then ram the whole shebang down their gullet until the noise stops.

You hostess has thoughtfully provided a little plastic package of "cheese" to keep their jaw open if they start biting your fingers, or just get another passenger to help - you'd be surprised how public spirited your fellow passengers can be.

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Re: Noise cancelling headphones

Why is their discourtesy my problem?

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Re: Noise cancelling headphones

Ever BEEN on a plane?

Voice calls in that sonic nightmare matters not an iota. You need ANC to take out the screaming kids, snoring buffons, drunk iDrones, and nattering salespeople - sorry "stewards". Not to mention those humungous noise generators on the bloomin' wings!

Thinking that a phonecall which most people will try once, not hear a frak of what the other say and give up, require a LAW shows that someone need upgrade their government to v2.0.

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Re: Noise cancelling headphones

This is why you should always carry Noise canceling headphones.

When the noisy person starts up, you pop a fresh battery in, press the button on the top, wait for the red light to come on indicating that the unit is ready, then ram the whole shebang down their gullet until the noise stops.

You hostess has thoughtfully provided a little plastic package of "cheese" to keep their jaw open if they start biting your fingers, or just get another passenger to help - you'd be surprised how public spirited your fellow passengers can be.

----

GENIUS!

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Re: Noise cancelling headphones

@Windrose

While I never discount the possibility that I am just very odd, I've always though that there was a reason why mobile phone calls annoyed and distracted me so much. That was more or less confirmed by two studies; the first, conducted in 2010 at Cornell, the second in 2013 at USD.

They're easy enough to find but the conclusion are exactly what people could tell you - having to listen to mobile phone calls is distracting in ways that ordinary, two-sided conversations (or other audible annoyances) are not.

The proposed explanations from both groups was that the brain is automatically trying to process language and when only half a conversation is audible, the brain has to try harder.

This has always been my assumption too - language processing often seems to happen sub, or semi-conciously, but when you hear what the Cornell researchers called a 'halfalogue', the extra work your brain is doing to try and process it brings it up to a level where your far more aware of it.

Not that I am against a reduction of all such annoyances in planes and other confined, public spaces - trains, buses, restaurants, shops, cafes, etc... - but I, personally, find mobile phone calls to be a special type if annoyance, and it seems I am not alone in that.

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Re: Noise cancelling headphones

People talk in a different and more assertive manner on the phone as a replacement for mannerisms and body language. Also, people inadvertently speak louder if they are struggling to hear the other person, typically due to engine nose.

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Re: Noise cancelling headphones

"Ever BEEN on a plane?"

Yup, lots of 12 hour flights with babies running screaming relays.

It's one of the reasons I won't fly unless I absolutely have to. (and of course the last 2 trips have been made up of ...2 6 hour legs of babies running screaming relays.)

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additional suggestion..

If they're going to allow emailing or smsing, I strongly suggest that keybeeps should be banned. Some people just don't realise how annoying their constant keypresses are to other folks.

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