Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Correct sentiment, bad execution


Our idea of hell: Being stuck on a cross-country flight in the middle seat between two dudes rambling on about their fantasy football team. Ugh. We shudder at the mere thought because there is nothing more interesting on the planet than your own fantasy team and nothing least interesting than everyone else’s. That’s a bad combo.

So, we’ve been interested to see whether or not the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) moves to lift the ban which currently hangs in the balance.

Two Republican congressmen, however, are not going to wait for the FCC to act and have introduced legislation to keep the in-flight cell phone ban in place.

From The Hill:

Political momentum to keep a ban on cellphone calls during flights gained momentum Monday as lawmakers said it would be crazy to allow them.

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.”

Right on! We couldn’t agree more. Keep at it fellas:

“For passengers, being able to use their phones and tablets to get online or send text messages is a useful in-flight option,” Shuster said. “But if passengers are going to be forced to listen to the gossip in the aisle seat, it’s going to make for a very long flight.”

Shuster and Alexander, who both face primary challenges in 2014, say they are responding to popular opinion.

“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.

“Imagine this noise while you travel, restrained by your seatbelt, unable to escape,” the senator continued. “The FCC commissioners will earn the gratitude of the two million Americans who fly each day by deciding: text messages, yes; conversations, no.”

These guys are saying exactly what they are thinking but they’re wrong… dead wrong on the issue of legislating a cell phone ban.

Call us wacko birds but we thought the Republican brand was to not be buttinskis in private enterprise matters and though we realize the regulated nature of the airline industry is what it is, this would be a perfect opportunity to let the airlines themselves figure this out.

For those of you averse to free market mechanics, why don’t we just settle on the concept of freedom of choice. Freedom of choice for the airlines to make their own business decisions on how to handle this and freedom of choice for you the consumer on which airline to patronize depending upon those airlines’ business decisions.

How about smoking/non-smoking flights and/or sections? How about slapping a big fat scarlet letter on the cell phoners to shame them out of the market completely? We’ve essentially done the same thing to smokers, why not stigmatize these other social undesirables as well? The possibilities are endless.

Sorry, (R) congress-critters. Time to let the airlines and consumers figure out this one.


1 comment:

K T Cat said...

Talking about your fantasy EPL team is a totally different story, however. For me, I can't believe I didn't pick up Luis Suarez several weeks back. I keep waiting for him to come back to Earth, but he hasn't. He's a goal-scoring machine this year!

There. I'm sure that fascinated you.