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In-flight phones: Let the market decide

December 19. 2013 7:59PM

Last week the Federal Communications Commission voted to begin the process of lifting the ban on in-flight cell phone use. Though a final decision will come later from the U.S. Department of Transportation, some members of Congress are already talking about passing a law to ban talking on cell phones while in flight. How opportunistic of them.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said last week, "We are not the Federal Courtesy Commission." Nice line. Members of Congress should repeat it.

The American people are perfectly capable of sorting out this issue without the help of politicians. In response to public pressure, three airlines — Delta, Southwest and Virgin America — already have pledged to ban in-flight phone conversations. Others are highly likely to follow that lead.

If some airlines allow this annoyance, the market will respond. People will factor in that policy when deciding whether to avoid or patronize those airlines. There will be options, from which grown-up Americans will make decisions based on their personal preferences. There is no cause for Washington to intervene in those choices.

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