We all know the pre-flight drill: Place your tray table in the upright and locked position. Make sure your seat belt is fastened. All electronic devices must be turned off.
(For me they add, “for the last time sir, put away the bottle of Maker’s Mark.” Between swigs, I reply, “can’t you see I’m trying to put it away?!”)
At last, the FCC is considering getting rid of the cellphone ban since there is no evidence that their use causes any safety issues. Seeing the nanny state rolled back even a little is a welcome sight, albeit a shocking one.
Unfortunately, the party that is supposed to stand for liberty and personal responsibility is standing in the way:
Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) became the second lawmaker after Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to offer legislation to keep the ban in place.
“Let’s face it, airplane cabins are by nature noisy, crowded, and confined,” said Shuster, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “For those few hours in the air with 150 other people, it’s just common sense that we all keep our personal lives to ourselves and stay off the phone.”
“Imagine two million passengers, hurtling through space, trapped in 17-inch-wide seats, yapping their innermost thoughts,” Alexander said last week in a statement. “The Transportation Security Administration would have to hire three times as many air marshals to deal with the fistfights.”
“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,” Alexander said.
Personally, I like being incommunicado for a few hours in flight. Allows me to read, nap or spend some quality time with my Maker’s Mark. But if someone wants to send texts, emails or even a quick phone call, that should be their option.
The vast majority will be polite. The few who aren’t will be asked to pipe down just like the too-chatty aisle neighbor. What do you think: Is there really a need for Washington to butt in?