Air Travelers Say No to Cell Phones
Survey Says: No Yakking On Planes (TechWeb News)
By a landslide, air travelers don’t want to add cell phone chatter to their already-long list of in-flight complaints, a survey says.
The poll, conducted on behalf of the National Consumer League and a flight attendants’ association, found that 69 percent of those surveyed wanted to keep cell phone restrictions in place on planes, while just 21 percent thought it was fine to gab once off the ground.
In December 2004, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed lifting its long-running ban on the use of cell phone and wireless data communication devices during U.S. flights.
Most of the negative results hovered around the 80 percent mark, the survey, released Thursday, showed, on issues ranging from “air rage” to emergency communications.
Seventy-eight percent, for instance, agreed that cell phones would contribute to the “already-tense, close quarters of an airplane” and could lead to unruliness, or confrontations between yammering passengers and flight attendants. Even more — 82 percent — said cell phones might “make planes uncomfortable and be disruptive” to passengers who wanted to nap or read.
“We’re not surprised that people responded so negatively to the idea of cell phone use being allowed on airplanes,” said Susan Grant of the National Consumer League, in a statement. “This survey and the popularity of the Do Not Call Registry illustrate the growing desire of many consumers to put up the ‘do not disturb’ sign and have some peace and quiet.”
I haven’t studied this issue enough to comment on the actual merits of the cell-phone ban (though, if you want to know my thoughts on the NDNCR, you can click here). But, based solely on personal preferences, I’d opt for no calls on planes. I think that it would, in fact, lead to unruliness. While it’d be nice to phone family and friends, especially if the flight is behind schedule, I fear that there’d be a good deal of abuse. As is, people scatter for their phones once the plane lands, so I can only imagine the extra nuisance that would result from all-out usage.
But, again, that’s just my taste. I’m sure that there are perfectly legitimate arguments out there for limiting the FCC’s intervention. At the moment, I’m simply inadequately informed to share more than my gut reaction.