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Uphold the Voice Call Ban on Commercial Flights

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issued the following statement today regarding a letter sent by 77 members of Congress to Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Tom Wheeler:

“Today, 77 members of Congress took a stand for sanity in the aircraft cabin and urged regulators to maintain the ban on in-flight voice calls. They also urged interagency collaboration within the Obama Administration to head off the potential unintended consequences of the FCC’s proposal to expand the use of wireless communications on airborne commercial flights.

“While the use of ever-changing wireless technologies may be the norm in today’s economy, expanding the use of wireless communication services during commercial flights gives rise to unique complications and risks that can’t be ignored. We applaud the lawmakers who signed today’s letter: they are telling this Administration that voice calls must be banned and that safety and security risks must be fully understood and addressed before any expanded use of this technology during commercial flights is approved. We also applaud the efforts of our affiliated aviation unions that educated and mobilized their members around this critical issue.

“As recent arguments over reclining seats have demonstrated, the aircraft cabin can be a volatile space. Introducing yet another nuisance or disturbance to passengers in this confined space will only exacerbate the problem. Flight attendants will be forced to mediate disputes over the volume, content, and frequency of calls, distracting their attention from safety and their other responsibilities.

“We applaud Representatives David McKinley and Dan Lipinski for their leadership on this important issue. We join our member unions and members of Congress in their call for continuing the ban on in-flight voice calls, and in urging the Obama Administration to consider aviation safety and security concerns before expanding wireless communication services on commercial flights.”

CONTACT: Elizabeth Weinberg, elizabethw@ttd.org, 202-628-9262

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