Furthermore, the coalition contends that existing background airplane noise cancels out most normal conversations beyond a row of seats. Airplane background noise is loud, which means people are going to talk even louder to be heard on their phones, thus not canceling out the sound of their voices.
Finally, those in favor of cellphone use assert that flight attendants should be able to successfully promote appropriate phone etiquette. This is a responsibility that flight attendants do not want and should not be worried about when they already have more important safety concerns to attend to.
Opponents of my legislation claim that the market will regulate the in-flight use of cellphones. Not long ago, however, the market failed consumers' health with regard to the ability to smoke on planes. Passengers were subjected to breathing secondhand smoke on flights, which led to increased respiratory problems for frequent fliers and flight attendants. Market forces will not lead to quieter airplane cabins; they will lead to more ticket-pricing tiers—adding more expensive seats in a quiet section, perhaps—and even air-travel rage.
America is not trailing behind when it comes to in-flight cellphone conversation, as opponents of the act purport. We are actually leading the charge on just-bearable air travel. Remember, the market will not keep airplanes quiet; it will lead to more expensive tickets for weary travelers who are desperate to escape the cellphone racket.
When it comes to in-flight phone conversations, less is more. The HANG UP Act will keep it that way.
Read why a cellphone ban is bad public policy, by Carl Biersack of the Inflight Passenger Communications Coalition.