Cellphone calls during flights? Stop the plane, I want to get off

Cellphones calls on planes
Federal regulators say rules against making cellphone calls during airline flights are being reconsidered.
(Matt Slocum / Associated Press )

Let me just say this about the possibility that the FCC will let people make cellphone calls on airplanes:


(Uh, no offense to Native Americans intended.)

POLL: Should the FCC allow cellphone use in flight?


Because if that happens, I’m jumpin’. A 21st century D.B. Cooper. But no parachute, thank you. At least I’ll have some peace and quiet on the way down.

The news broke late Thursday that, as my colleague Andrea Chang wrote: “The Federal Communications Commission is considering allowing fliers to make in-flight voice calls on their cellphones once the plane reaches 10,000 feet…. The commission is scheduled to vote on whether to move forward with the proposal during a Dec. 12 meeting, according to two FCC officials who declined to be named because the plan had yet to be formally presented to the commission.”

Really? So take off your shoes and your belt, empty your pockets, let me pat you down, $25 extra for your bag, no free food, no legroom, we’ll get there when we get there — all that’s not bad enough? Now I may have to hear the Valley girl on my left and the punk rocker on my right describe their BFF who’s so LOL and their bitchin’ night in Vegas? I’m gonna have to hear Grandpa Earl regale his kid with stories of his prostate problems? Or Aunt Gert, who “is just dyin’ to see you, hon, but I’m just about to divorce that no good lout of a husband of mine ... no, I have plenty of time to talk. But what? Speak up, I’m on a plane and it’s noisy!”

As far as I can tell, there’s only one way this works: free booze for everyone. Including the kids. Especially the kids, come to think of it. And the flight attendants too. Not the pilots, though. No sense waking them up; they need the rest.


Now, here’s how an FCC official explained the agency’s thinking: “It’s the start of a process. We think it makes sense to give airlines the tools to provide the services they want based on what their passengers demand.”

Huh? Since when? You think passengers demanded that airlines not feed them? And the only “service” most airlines provide passengers these days is that they fly them from Point A to Point D (with Points B and C, at least, in between) in a crowded, dirty plane that sometimes leaves on time and sometimes arrives on time and is staffed by harried, underpaid and overworked flight attendants. Oh, and they don’t crash — very often.

You think people don’t like Obamacare; just wait and see if this rule is enacted. “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” — nothing there about cellphones on jumbo jets.

Where have you gone, Clarence Thomas, strict constructionist, a nation turns its burning ears to you?

This is all part of a nasty, nit-witty, nefarious nabob of a trend. Recall that the Federal Aviation Administration last month said it would allow passengers to use tablets and e-readers and such throughout a flight, instead of having to turn them off during takeoffs and landings. Meaning that the next time there is a mishap on a takeoff or landing, it will be women and children and iPads first.

The good news for me is that I’m getting older, so hopefully, should this cellphone boondoggle actually get approved, I’ll just die before my ears start to bleed. But, as with Social Security, Medicare, the national debt, personal privacy, climate change and music (see West, Kanye and Kardashian, Kim), I fear for the younger generation.

Then again, my parents worried that too much TV would ruin my eyes and rot my brain. Ha! I showed them: I only need contacts and reading glasses.



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