Cohen Leads Bipartisan Congressional Letter Urging FAA to Not Allow Cell Phone Calls In Flight

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – After the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened the door to a proposal that would allow for voice calls from cell phones during domestic air travel, Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) sent a bipartisan Congressional letter to Michael Huerta, Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), strongly urging him to maintain the ban on cell phone calls in flight. The letter, which is cosigned by 14 Members of Congress and available here, also expresses concerns about disruptions to passengers’ flight experience as well as for consumer safety.

“We share the concerns of the flying public and the many professionals in the aviation industry that such a change to the current rules disallowing the use of cell phone voice networks could result in not only a markedly less pleasant flying experience, but a less safe one as well,” wrote the Representatives. “Allowing passengers to make phone calls while in flight would disrupt the right of consumers to enjoy the quiet comfort of their flight. In addition, we have strong concerns about the effect such a change may have on safety. Simply put, the flying experience in the United States would be forever changed for the worse if voice calls are allowed on flights. We hope that you will consider our concerns and those of the industry’s experienced professionals as you consider how to proceed.”

Should the FCC change its current rules, the FAA would have to approve changes to in-flight policies made by individual airlines. Last month, the Association of Flight Attendants released a statement explaining: “Any situation that is loud, divisive, and possibly disruptive is not only unwelcome but also unsafe.”

Representatives Michael Capuano (MA-07), Jim Cooper (TN-05), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Elizabeth Esty (CT-05), Sam Farr, (CA-20), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Michael Honda (CA-17), Walter Jones (NC-03), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Thomas Petri (WI-06), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Allyson Schwartz (PA-13), and Eric Swalwell (CA-15) joined Congressman Cohen in signing this letter.