Representative Bill Shuster (R-Blair) proposed another piece of legislation that could be as popular as his water redevelopment bill earlier this year.
Shuster will bring forth a bill that would outlaw phone calls during air travel. This comes after the FCC announced it might lift the ban on in-flight telephone conversations. The agency said that the airlines could each decided their own cell phone policy. The Southwestern PA legislator felt that this would be an unacceptable step in airplane safety and leisure.
“Let’s face it, airplane cabins are by nature noisy, crowded, and confined. For the most part, passengers are looking for ways to make their flights go by as quickly and quietly as possible. Pilots and flight attendants are focused on ensuring a safe and comfortable flight for everyone onboard.”
His bill will be known as the Prohibiting In-Flight Voice Communications on Mobile Wireless Devices Act of 2013. Shuster is the chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the House of Representatives.
Two months ago, the FAA began allowing electronic devices to be used during take offs and landings. Shuster said he does not oppose this option.
“For passengers, being able to use their phones and tablets to get online or send text messages is a useful in-flight option. 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.”
A flight attendant’s union, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, voiced their approval for Shuster’s proposition. In addition, a YouGov/Huffington Post poll found that Americans would prefer to prohibit phone conversations on flights than not, 49% to 31%.
Shuster is no stranger to handling changes in the airline industry. Over the summer, he endorsed oil and gas drilling at Pittsburgh International Airport to reduce the airport’s debt. He also observed construction at Philadelphia International Airport earlier this year with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Congressman Pat Meehan (R-Delaware).
Shuster faces a Tea Party challenger in the 2014 primary. Art Halvorson, an entrepreneur, condemned Shuster’s Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 as “liberal economic policy” and that voters could expect more central planning. The water bill passed the house 417-3. Businessman Travis Schooley has also criticized Shuster’s conservatism, but hasn’t made any moves to jump into the primary.