Flight Attendant Union Applauds Congressional Letter Urging Current Ban On In-Flight Voice Calls

Washington, DC- The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), representing nearly 60,000 Flight Attendants at 19 carriers, today praised a bipartisan coalition of United States Representatives who issued a letter to the heads of four U.S. government agencies urging the continuation of the current ban on mobile broadband in the aircraft cabin.  The letter also requested that risks to aviation safety and security arising from the proposed expansion of communications capability be addressed in a collaborative, multi-agency effort.

“We applaud the 77 United States Representatives who are requesting a comprehensive analysis of safety and security concerns that surround the use of in-flight mobile broadband technology. For over ten years, AFA has been a leader in pushing for comprehensive and ongoing consideration of the risks associated with new in-flight communications technology. As first responders and the last line of defense in our nation’s aviation system, Flight Attendants remain strongly opposed to cell phone use in the aircraft cabin,” said Sara Nelson, AFA International President.

The letter to the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stressed concerns that the proposed FCC rule that would allow the use of mobile broadband technology does not fully address critical safety and security issues. The use of wireless communication devices should be subject to a multi-agency review that explores possible adverse effects by a diverse group of experts who are able address risks or even mitigate future threats or vulnerabilities. AFA’s “Never Forget” legislative and regulatory campaign, launched this month, stresses coordinated agency and stakeholder communication as a key component of aviation security.

“We are grateful for the leadership of Representatives McKinley and Lipinski in taking action on this very serious issue. In far too many operational scenarios, mobile broadband use could be far worse than a mere nuisance: It could have catastrophic effects on aviation safety and security. We call on the government to work together to ensure that potential ramifications are fully reviewed with security experts so that the U.S. remains the safest aviation system in the world,” added Nelson.

The Association of Flight Attendants is the world’s largest Flight Attendant union. Focused 100 percent on Flight Attendant issues, AFA has been the leader in advancing the Flight Attendant profession for 69 years. Serving as the voice for Flight Attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill, AFA has transformed the Flight Attendant profession by raising wages, benefits and working conditions. Nearly 60,000 Flight Attendants come together to form AFA, part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org.

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