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Alexander Blasts Effort To Lift Cell Phone Ban


If Lamar Alexander is conflicted about the FCC's rule banning the use of cell phones on commercial flights, he hides it well.

In comments released Tuesday, Tennessee's senior senator vowed to introduce legislation to keep the ban in place if the FCC decides to remove it. 

Imagine two million passengers, hurtling through space, trapped in 17 inch-wide seats, yapping their innermost thoughts," Alexander said.  "Stop and think about what we hear now in airport lobbies from those who wander around shouting personal details into a microphone: babbling about last night's love life, bathroom plans, next week's schedule, orders to an assistant, arguments with spouses.  Imagine this noise while you travel, restrained by your seat belt, unable to escape."

"The Transportation Security Administration would have to hire three times as many air marshals to deal with the fistfights."

When asked whether the senator's comments about TSA staffing were meant to be taken literally, a spokesman for Alexander's office told WUOT News "He was just making a point."

The FCC began to prohibit the use of cell phones on commercial flights in 1991 because of concerns that the phones' signal would interfere with systems on the ground.  However, the agency recently concluded the phones don't pose a safety risk.

Even if the FCC reverses the ban, it will be up to individual airlines to decide whether they want to allow cell phone conversations on their flights. 

The FCC will discuss its proposal to lift the ban at its December 12 meeting.