Skip to comments.Smart Phones, Foolish Choices
Posted on 11/28/2013 7:45:10 AM PST by Kaslin
"In space, no one can hear you scream" was the tag line for Ridley Scott's breakthrough 1979 sci-fi flick, "Alien." With the Federal Communications Commission's decision to revisit its 22-year ban on using cellphones in flight on passenger planes, that could change.
Oh, joy, was my first thought. That obnoxious Alec Baldwin wannabe who makes the crew nag him until he turns off his toys is going to have his loud way with everyone from boarding to landing.
The past few decades have seen a transformation of the friendly skies. With smaller seats, tighter rows and shrinking food, cellphone usage could be the final element that turns air travel into the equivalent of taking Bay Area Rapid Transit. You want to read the newspaper, but it's hard to concentrate when a nearby passenger is barking orders to his staff, a young stud is lying to his partner and another passenger is talking about absolutely nothing -- but loudly.
Flight attendants are not amused. "Any situation that is loud, divisive, and possibly disruptive is not only unwelcome but also unsafe," quoth a statement from the Association of Flight Attendants. "In emergencies," the union also pointed out, cellphone "use would drown out announcements and distract from life-saving instructions from the crew."
Not even the head of the Consumer Electronics Association wants to allow passengers to yap on their devices. "I'm a human being, and I fly a lot," Gary Shapiro told me. "I've yet to meet anyone who thinks it's a good idea," not even cellphone executives.
"I flew five of the last seven days" last week, he added. "I think I would shoot myself if people were talking on the plane." Shapiro advocates banning voice phone calls except in emergencies.
The FCC didn't help itself by announcing its thinking in mid-November, before the holiday travel season, when peak demand and bad weather lead to flight cancellations, annoying delays and a spirited anger at airline policies. Commissioners will vote Dec. 12 whether to move the proposal forward for public comment.
Hmm. Public comment. I hope they can turn down the volume.
For the FCC's part, Shapiro noted, emitting electronics need not jam a plane's radio frequencies. A new rule should allow passengers to text friends and retrieve data. That's good.
Our Betters in Europe, without controversy, allow passengers to talk on their mobile phones. The old Airfones didn't ruin flying, probably because they were so pricey.
The FCC is supposed to make rulings based on technology, The Washington Post editorialized. That's what the FCC proposes to do, so let airlines experiment and decide what works best.
That's the free market, I tell myself. And it's wrong to oppose change because it's change.
So let the airlines experiment. In the end, this being America, the outcome will be settled by lawyers. If airlines do choose to allow unfettered phoning, there will be horror stories, and there will be brawls, and there will be lawsuits.
In the meantime, there's always the public transportation bromide: earbuds.
The FCC saying one thing <> the Airlines have to allow it. They can still ban use - and I hope they do.
And the FAA can still tell the FCC GFI...
Getting a motor mouth sitting behind or next to you is one of the worst things that can happen on a flight. A motor mouth talking to her Mom..non stop on the phone would be worse.
I wonder how many fights will break out over cell phone conversations.
There is no DOT regulation on the point, just company policy. I don't see the airlines as any different. So what if the FAA allows it? The airline can have a policy forbidding.
That makes perfect sense to me
You guys are missing the obvious solution.
In the old days, a plane had a smoking section and a non smoking section.
Just bring those section back with a talking section and a non talking (but data and text are ok) section. (with a small wall to separate them).
Besides, there has to be some negative health effects from “second hand noise” so I see a good lawsuit here enforcing the sectioning.
I had an issue with a flight attendant on a flight last week who was struggling with the latest rule change allowing small electronic devices to be on but cell data service turned off. She swore I had cell service turned on on my iPad. I said no, she pointed at an icon and said “what’s that then?”. I said “The battery”. I finally told her I don’t have a cell data plan activated on my iPad. I use a mifi hotspot.
She left, but was confused.
Among "older" passengers, there may be a few hissyfits.
However, I don't see that many people under the age of 30 actually talking as texting. Endlessly. Mindlessly.
...but at least silently. Except for the odd giggle over their latest cleverness.
Those pompous clowns at FCC may very well be doing us all a favor. With the added benefit of driving the poor souls at NSA wading through all the resulting high-altitude drivel stark, raving bonkers.
Finally, an admission. I haven't gone near an airport, let alone taken an airline flight since TSA got turned into gehimestatspoletzi under Big Sis / The 0, so I don't really give a great big red rat's arse one way or 'tother.
A plague upon all of their houses. Verbal or in text format.
This column is pretty silly. Planes are cramped versions of buses and trains. People use cell phones on buses and trains without incident.
Cell phones on a plane wouldn’t bother me. When I think about the germs on an airplane I get nauseous. I wonder how many kids, or older adults, with leaky diapers sat in the seat on the previous flight. I’m so glad there is nobody I want to see that’s not within driving distance.
Bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer. Especially if you're going to fasten your seat belt. Oh yeah, that's required. The overhead luggage bin covers. There's the turn knob latch for the flip-down tray table. The armrest controls. Air-flow knob above you. All handled by the previous passengers, who may have lots of germs. Have a happy flight!
No. I was following all the rules. I even had my seat I the upright, most uncomfortable position.
Please tell me the difference between a cell phone conversation & a conversation between passengers. Also, tell me the difference between using the phones on the back of the seat & a cell phone in terms of annoyance factor. Neither annoys me unless they are too loud. Who my fellow passenger is talking to is none of my business. I have no right to tell him/her when & to whom they may speak.
As for the argument that since seats are smaller & closer together, that increases the annoyance of cell phone conversations; I suppose when flying is like a tightly packed subway car, we should all just endure the misery in total silence. The problem is cattle car like conditions, not people having a conversation.
Flight attendants are not amused. “Any situation that is loud, divisive, and possibly disruptive is not only unwelcome but also unsafe,” quoth a statement from the Association of Flight Attendants. “In emergencies,” the union also pointed out, cellphone “use would drown out announcements and distract from life-saving instructions from the crew.”
Certainly loud, vulgar, disturbing conversations should be prohibited, but that applies equally to conversations among passengers, not just to those using a cell phone. The phone is not the problem, the speaker is. In an emergency everyone aboard needs to close their mouth & listen to instructions. Two deaf old ladies loudly talking about the grandchildren can be just as distracting as a loud cell phone user. Double the distraction for screaming babies. The idea that a cell phone conversation could "drown out announcements" is nonsense.
All this crap about cell phone usage in public stems from the Left-wing concept of being OFFENDED. Lefties find all kinds of ways to be offended. REDSKINS are offensive. Old Glory is offensive. Religion is offensive. Talking on the phone is offensive. Being offended, they insist others suspend their free speech & association rights. Hogwash!
Whatever happened to the idea that if you don't like what you hear or see, ignore it?
It’s enough of an annoyance in public places such as grocery stores where the buyers hold up the lines by having to yap on their cellphones while dealing with the cashiers, imagine these yappers on transcontinetal flights.