US readies to legislate manners; is that really what you want?

The outrageous-beyond-belief “Hang Up Act” has been tagged on to FAA Reauthorization legislation. Read for yourself by clicking on the following link
and heading to section 423 of the bill, HR 915.

HR 915 (2).pdf


It’s appalling to say the least on a number of levels.

AeroMobile High res photo shoot 007.JPG
Level 1 – The bill only bans passengers from making calls – it doesn’t ban the installation of systems to support voice calls because cabin crews can make calls if they wish! So can federal officers!

Level 2 – The bill covers A) a commercial mobile radio service or other wireless communication device; B) a broadband wireless device or other wireless device that transmits data packets using the Internet Protocol or comparable technical standard or C) a device having voice override capability. No VoIP! Are they serious? Sadly, yes. 

Level 3 – The bill DOES NOT include voice communications using a phone installed on an aircraft! Oh give me a freaking break.

I recently spoke with Emirates’ Patrick Brannelly about this situation, and he rightly pointed out that this “will be the first time that manners are legislated by government”.

“When was the last time you heard that?”

With 32 Emirates aircraft installed with AeroMobile’s mobile connectivity service, the carrier knows first hand that passengers act responsibly when given the right to make cell phone calls during flight. Indeed, most folks opt to send text messages versus the more pricey voice calls.

“At the end of the day, people can be rude and disrespectful on aircraft without a phone. And it sometimes happens, but if they are being charged a few dollars a minute to make a phone call, it gives [people] pause.”

Emirates has offered a satcom telephone at every seat since 1996. “I’ve been here since 1992 and I’ve never seen a passenger complain,” says Brannelly.

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2 Responses to US readies to legislate manners; is that really what you want?

  1. TotallyMobile March 24, 2009 at 10:46 am #

    Quite an impressive display of government hubris, eh?

    I take the draft legislation to read that in fact VOIP calls would be prohibited as, after all, the “IP” in “VOIP” is “Internet Protocol”. So not only are mobile phone users targeted, but also any voice applications supported by AirCell/GoGo, Row44, …

    More startlingly is the idea that the legislation could apply to foreign aircraft, seemingly without geographical limitation. As written, it appears that the legislation seeks to target passenger voice services on aircraft flying, say, over the Pacific or over Europe perhaps even whether or not they are flying to/from the US. Where does the madness stop?

    Keep up the good work, Mary!

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