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Flying the Cell Phone Friendly Skies?

Imagine you’re on your way to the Caribbean for a wonderful, much needed vacation. You stow your carry-on baggage and take your seat next to the window. You get out the book that you’ve been waiting to read for the past two weeks, and flip to the first page. Things couldn’t be going better, right?

Next thing you know, an hour into a 6 hour flight, the guy next to you gets on his cell phone and proceeds to have a 45 minute argument with his wife, then call his best friend to tell him all about it. You try to read over the slightly hushed, angry tones of the conversation, but are unable to concentrate, and eventually just give up to stare out the window while the chatter continues.

This is what I envisioned when I heard that the Bureau of Transportation was considering lifting the ban on cell phone use on planes. As if being forced to listen to other people’s cell phone conversations everywhere else weren’t enough, they’re now thinking about allowing it on flights as well! What’s worse is some lawmakers think that airlines are pushing for this so that they can charge extra to sit in a section where there aren’t cell phones. Airline travel has become expensive enough as it is with paying to check bags, or even to reserve a specific seat, let alone paying to not be annoyed the entire flight. If anything, one would think that they would charge people who feel that they need to use their phones mid-flight, not the other way around.

An interesting survey was conducted to see what people think about this idea. There is a definite gap between age groups in terms of how this plan is viewed. Of people 65 or older, 60% oppose it, while less than a third support it. For the 18-34 age bracket, half support it, while a little over a third oppose it. Yours truly falls into the latter group, and is most assuredly opposed to it. A person having a loud, overly personal conversation in public has always been a pet peeve of mine, but at least in most cases I can walk away. I can’t even imagine how terrible it would be to be trapped next to someone talking on a cell phone for an entire flight.

Let’s all cross our fingers and hope that the ban on cell phone use stays permanent. So, until the day that it changes, enjoy the relative quiet on your flights.

Safe Travels,

Ted Phelps

Customer Travel Consultant

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