WASHINGTON – The Federal Communications Commission has officially grounded the idea of allowing airline passengers to use cellular telephones while in flight. Existing rules require cellular phones to be turned off once an aircraft leaves the ground in order to avoid interfering with cellular network systems on the ground. The agency began examining the issue in December 2004. Federal Aviation Administration regulations also restrict the use of cellular phones and other portable electronic devices onboard aircraft to ensure against interference with the aircraft’s navigation and communication systems. In an order released Tuesday, the FCC noted that there was “insufficient technical information” available on whether airborne cell phone calls would jam networks on the ground. Link to story
Well, thank heaven the FCC finally got a brain. I have railed about the FCC before, but this is one they finally got right. Now, I don’t believe for a second that my tiny little Radio Shack phone has the ability to interfere with the navigation systems of Boeing‘s 757…but I’d love to believe that the FCC realized that this would only increase the amounts of “air rage” which the FAA probably leaned on them about. If you’ve ever been in an airport or on a plane, you know the power of a cell phone to piss you off. When C and I went to South Africa, there was a kid who was on his cell phone until the second the plane door closed, ostensibly calling everyone he knew to tell them where he was. You know what kid, nobody gives a damn. Bore them with the pictures when you get home, don’t bother them before you’ve even left. Silly bastard.
Anyway, the important thing to note is that this is a victory for people, like me, who like a little peace and quiet on their airplane flights…so that they can hear when the plane is breaking apart and plummeting to the earth.
See you in the funny papers!