Alexander: Ban in-flight cellphone calls

Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (R-Tenn.) is pressing for a ban on passengers making cellphone calls during flights.

On Monday, Alexander threw his support behind the Department of Transportation, which is expected to propose such a measure in December.


“I’m glad the Department of Transportation is serious about putting the brakes on a bad idea before it takes flight,” Alexander said in a statement.

The senator didn’t cite safety concerns, instead arguing that in-flight phone calls would be a sheer annoyance to other passengers forced to listen in on private conversations.

"Banning in-flight cellphone conversations would bring us one step closer to avoiding something that the two million passengers flying each day do not want: to be trapped by a seat belt in 17-inch-wide seats thousands of feet above the ground, listening to the same thing we hear in airports — arguments with spouses, next week's schedule, or last night's love life," he said.

Alexander, though, said that passengers should still be permitted to send text messages.

"Text messages yes," he said, "conversations, no."

Alexander teamed with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on a bipartisan bill last year known as the Commercial Flight Courtesy Act that would ban in-flight calls on commercial airlines.

In March, the two senators also wrote to the Transportation Department urging it to ban in-flight calls.