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Lifting Cell Phone Ban On Airlines Drawing Opposition From Travelers In Charleston

Reported by: Send eMail Katelyn Sykes
Web Producer: Katelyn Sykes
Reported: Dec. 16, 2013 11:03 AM EST
Updated: Dec. 16, 2013 1:07 PM EST

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Cell Phone Ban
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Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia

A recent vote by the FCC to consider lifting a ban on in-flight cell phone use on airlines is drawing opposition from travelers and lawmakers in Charleston.

"Using the cellphones is great although somebody talking on them gate to gate in my opinion is not a great idea," said air traveler Robert Wells.

Wells is a frequent traveler and was heading to Albany, N.Y., Monday morning from Charleston. He said the thought of mid-flight calls doesn't thrill him.

"I'm not going to say anything directly, but it wouldn't excite me," he said.

Air traveler Michael Judy said when a bunch of people are talking on the cell phone "all of a sudden the level goes up. That might be something they have to look into."

But FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler said it's the agency's job to worry about technology, not what passengers want.

"I'm the last person in the world who wants to listen to somebody talking to me while I fly across the country," Wheeler said. "But we are the technical agency and we will make the technical rules that will reflect the way new technology works."

And already a measure to stop it is in the works. A bi-partisan bill to ban in-flight calls is making the rounds and gaining support. It was drafted by Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., and already 20 members of Congress have jumped on board in support, including Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.,who says allowing calls on flights could make it more stressful to passengers.

Shuster said airplanes "are confined, they're noisy already and to have dozens of phone calls going on while in flight. I think is annoying to the traveling public, and I think it's unnecessary."

Even some airlines are agreeing. Delta has said if the FCC lifts its ban, it will still not allow in-flight calls.

According to a poll released last Wednesday by The Associated Press, 59 percent of Americans who take more than one flight in the past year are against allowing voice calls on planes. That number grows to 78 percent among those who have taken four or more flights.



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