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US Moves to Ban in-flight Calls

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The US House of Representatives is introducing legislation that would ban the use of mobile phones on aircraft.

The Halting Airplane Noise to Give Us Peace Act (HANG UP Act) would make it illegal for US airlines to offer mobile phone calls as a service during flights, something airlines are keen to do as they could both charge for the calls and charge extra for passengers wanting to sit in a no-calls section.

"The public doesn’t want to be subjected to people talking on their cell phones on an already over-packed airplane," said a co-sponsor of the bill Representative Peter DeFazio.

"However, with Internet access just around the corner on U.S. flights, it won’t be long before the ban on voice communications on in-flight planes is lifted. Our bill, the HANG UP Act, would ensure that financially strapped airlines don’t drive us towards this noisome disruption in search of further revenue."

The bill would allow email and text messages to be used on planes and wouldn’t affect existing skyphone services.

"Cell phone users should not be able to disrupt the comfort of an entire airplane cabin, especially when other passengers have no choice but to sit there and listen," said co-sponsor Representative John Duncan.

"This bill will ensure a relative amount of peace for the American public as they take to an increasingly crowded sky."

However, both the EU and the UK’s Ofcom have already approved the use of mobile phones in aircraft, so the bill could spark confusion on American carriers flying the transatlantic route.


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