Thursday, 6 February 2014

Airlines now clear for take off on mobile phone chatter

With the recent news that the regulation on using electronic devices on flights has finally been relaxed is joyous news indeed. For years now, airline passengers have endured the glare of flight attendants marching up and down the aisles hell bent on finding miscreants flagrantly flouting the law on electronic devices. I know it was the regulations, but clearly we all know flight mode enabled devices do not transmit anything so the threat of interfering with aircraft navigational systems was really a non issue.

The new law permits passengers to use their electronic devices from gate to gate now, as long as they are enabled in flight mode. Marvelous news. Now we can finish that movie or keep reading our stories instead of having to thumb through the latest in flight magazine we have already read three times at the beginning and end of flights.

However, I fear this news is not so joyous in the longer term. There are already plans afoot to allow phone calls during flights as faster wi fi access becomes a reality or cellular technology evolves over 10,000 feet.
My worry is this. Do I really want to sit next to someone who is having a conference call board meeting, or selling the very latest line of adult nappies, or negotiating with their divorce lawyer during my flight? The thought of a few hours of peace from anyone who has been, prior to lift off,  glued to their smart phone or immersed in earnest conversation is a window of opportunity I always embrace. The thought of this peaceful time shattered with a constant barrage of endless chatter feels me with dread.

Can you imagine a scene when (and I'm not being disparaging to any particular nation here) someone who revels in letting everyone in earshot hear how successful he or she is, or how good a Wall Street wolf they are is too horrible to contemplate.

Perhaps we should all go back to banning PDAs after all.