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Shut Up or Pay New Airline Cellphone Fine

By Edward Tan, JD on April 19, 2012 9:48 AM

New York and New Jersey flyers may be facing a new airline cell phone fine if they don't turn off their devices.

The new regulation would require travelers to shut down their cell phones and other tablet devices prior to takeoff. The restriction is currently being considered by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Fox News reports.

Should it pass, airline customers could face stiff new penalties for not complying.

How bad of a penalty? The fines could be up to tens of thousands of dollars depending on whether there was a delay as a result of a flyer's actions.

Of course, fined travelers will also have the option of appealing their ticket in court, Pat Foye said. Foye is the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The agency is considering passing the new regulation because, "economic costs of delays and with the passenger inconvenience and the effect on our airports' ability to serve 100 million passengers a year, it's the right thing to do," Foye said.

Debates on use of cell phones and other electronics on airplanes surged after actor Alec Baldwin was kicked of a New York American Airlines plane bound for Los Angeles when he refuse to turn off his phone. The "30 Rock" star later gave a tongue-in-cheek apology to the flight's staff during a "Saturday Night Live" skit.

The New York and New Jersey fine would be the first of its kind. Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration request travelers to shut down their electronic devices prior to ascent.

However, in terms of enforcement no laws currently exist that prohibit cell phone and tablet use to the same extent proposed by the New York and New Jersey agency.

The F.A.A. cites safety reasons for asking that electronic devices be off. However, no airline accidents resulting from electronics use during takeoff have been recorded, The New York Times reports.

For now, travelers in New York and New Jersey must wait and see if they'll soon be fined for not turning off their cell phones on airlines.

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