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Should Cell Phones Be Allowed on Planes?

Posted by Claire | Friday January 14, 201119 comments

Should cell phones be allowed on planes?

Oh no, you say.  For safety reasons, you can't...right? Turns out, you'd be wrong.

Many airlines have equipped their airplanes for cell phone use, and the only thing holding passengers back from taking advantage of this technology is the law.  However, as laws often go, they can vary from country to country.  Several Middle Eastern carriers and British Airways offer the service already, with others in trial phase.  So that's the technological question out of the way.

The bigger question, though, is would you want this?  Would you want your seatmate jabbering away to her sister about the latest reality TV inanities while you're desperate for a jet lag-induced nap?  Would you want a business man loudly issuing self-important musings to his assistant?

And here you thought the biggest problem with air travel was crying babies....

What do you think?  Would you be in favour of lifting the in-air ban on cell phone use?
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on January 20, 2011  linda999 said:

@becky - wow, you have nerves of steel and a kind disposition.

on January 20, 2011  linda999 said:

It would be a huge irritant. On the GO train, a 20 minute ride mind you, I have felt rage building against people filling blank time talking mindless blap to whoever. Who cares about a 20 second conversation imparting info like "I'm on the train, meet me at X time"... this is not irritating, but like in the article, self important business calls and extended "what are you doing" conversations intrude on what I feel is my right not to hear this crap. Perhaps something like what they do in Europe... offer segregated "talking" coaches and "quiet" coaches.

It would be wildly impossible to sit on a plane for multiple hours since the few mentioned above believe their right to impose their extended conversations on the many will be very polarizing and will without a doubt lead to air rage.

on January 15, 2011  spotty  4,021 said:

@becky, my husband is an airline pilot. The only reason they want all electronic devices OFF at take off and landing, including ipods, is so that you may hear the crew instructions in the case of an emergency. For similar reason, they want all tray tables up and seat backs forward so that in case of emergency evacuation pathways are as clear as possible. While not enforced, they also like to have window shades open so that passengers and flight attendants can all be oriented. The rules aren't there to be annoying. However, the public is often misguided in why the rules are in place (like the communications interference) which is really not OK, but airline managers at the top don't care about anything other than their bonus.

on January 14, 2011  cathy3087  98 said:

oh my gosh Becky I can't believe you had to sit with a stranger's child on your lap!! Those airplane seats are tight enough as it is. If that was me I'd have asked her to get off me - does that make me a bad person??

on January 14, 2011  LaurenBlair  128 said:

@becky - that sounds like the worst experience, I would not wish that on anybody :(

on January 14, 2011  Becky  13,128 said:

@Ali I laughed so hard at your comment my coworker made me read it to
him and he laughed too! LOL Not that getting backhanded is funny,
but...after the fact the situation is funny, right? :)

But I do feel your pain re: seat mates! One of my trips back from UK was a trip from hell. I had an awesome window seat but the down side was the guy sitting next to me had a bazillion
kids!! No joke! His wife and his bazillion kids were sitting right in
front of us. The guy got up literally every minute, climbed over the
lap of the chubby man sitting on his other side, to talk to his wife or
play with his kids. Even though his wife had a whole row of seats (3
seats) to herself (her and her bazillion kids) and he could have just
sat in one of those, he insisted on sitting in his own chair and
climbing back/forth over the other man's lap. When he wasn't climbing
over the (*big*) man's lap he was standing at his seat talking to his
wife gesturing all over the place so either me or the other guy were
getting elbowed and backhanded. The children ran around the entire
plane, yelling and screaming out of joy. Many of the passengers and
staff complained but I didn't see him nor his wife say a single stern
word to them to quieten them down. I did my best to block them out by
blasting loud music into my ears and forcing myself to sleep. I was
doing OK until all of a sudden I feel him shaking my shoulder to wake me
up. I wake up groggy and disoriented to find him apologizing to me
because his baby daughter (who was now sitting on his lap) was playing
with my hair. In case that disturbed me he shook me awake to
apologize!! WTF?? The baby liked my scowl so much she climbed from his
lap onto mine and I spent the rest of the journey with a stranger's kid
on my lap threatening her (in french so the mean looking mother doesn't
understand) that I WILL throw her out the window should she start
screaming while sitting on my lap, which she heeded. Well at least for
the rest of the journey we had a bazillion minus 1 child screaming of

on January 14, 2011  cathy3087  98 said:

It would definitely cause many on-board fights!

on January 14, 2011  LaurenBlair  128 said:

Haha reading these comments shows that flying really brings out the worst in people. Allowing cell phone use on planes could lead to flight-rage!

on January 14, 2011  Ali de Bold  STAFF said:

On my flight to Jamaica earlier this month, the guy beside me started talking on his phone as we were landing. I think he was new to flying because he also back-handed me twice inadvertently while attempting to fasten his seatbelt. He couldn't get the buckle in and his hand came flying backwards into my arm twice. Hard! When he got on his phone I was tempted to punch him back, lol!

on January 14, 2011  mamaluv  STAFF said:

I agree with all of you. There is the safety factor to be sure, but I especially dislike the noise you'd experience. Right now, you might have a few people chatting with their seatmates but most people are minding their own business, watching a movie, etc. If they relaxed the rules, even if no one was speaking too loudly on their phone, the number of conversations would be dramatically increased and the ambient noise would be much louder.

And on long haul flights when people are trying to sleep? Heck, I've already been known to ask people to quiet down their regular conversations when my kids need to rest! (and I feel justified, since they ask me to shut my kids up for making sound effects with their Bakugans or Star Wars action figures - never mind when they fuss!

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