People Want To Yak In The Sky

from the bring-it-on dept

There have been plenty of stories in the last few months about various tests and plans to let passengers on airplanes start using mobile phones while flying. The basic solution involves a modified cell tower attached to the plane itself, to route all the calls through that tower, rather than deal with the problem of having phones hit many, many towers within range on the ground beneath them. However, many people seem to react with horror to the idea that the person sitting next to them could be talking away on their phone the whole flight, ignoring, of course, that plenty of people talk to their neighbors on flights already. Of course, with mobile phones there are additional problems such as the “yelling” that comes with mobile phone conversations (especially in a noisy environment) and the “annoyance” of only hearing one side of the conversation (which studies have shown is more annoying, probably because the side you hear is either on or off, unlike a standard conversation which may be continuous). However, it’s still likely to move forward, as a new study shows that many business travelers would make airline decisions based on whether or not they could use their mobile phones on board. To make the study more useful, though, they should ask people if they would choose to fly on certain airlines if they included a “no mobile phone yakking” section as well.

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Comments on “People Want To Yak In The Sky”

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Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

I personally don’t think anyone is important enough or busy enough that they can’t be off the cellphone for a couple of hours during a flight (or driving a car, or at the cinema….!)

If this must go ahead, then it has to be limited to Business Class, maybe with a soundproof door between them and us Economy folk.

Pony99CA (user link) says:

Of Course There Are Important People And Issues

I think one of the reasons people don’t like the thought of cell phones on planes, in spite of people already talking to fellow passengers and the other reasons given, is that it makes a conversation more likely.

Somebody seated next to a stranger may not want to talk during the flight (I know that I don’t), but having the ability to call a friend or colleague eliminates that barrier.

I also disagree with Doctor Mitch. There are plenty of people that important. Consider organ recipients — they carry beepers now, but if the beeper goes off on a flight, you might think they’d like to call and find out what happened.

Also, restricting cell phone usage to Business Class seems wrong on two levels. First, why should only the well-heeled get to use phones? Are business users more deserving than “normal” people?

Second, many people choose Business Class to be more comfortable and actually may not want to listen to people blathering on.

I’d prefer a “no talking” section that people could request. Of course, just like smoking areas of old where smoke drifts, conversation drifts, too, so it’s not a perfect solution. Maybe the airline can hand out earplugs like they pass out pillows….

Mark says:

Re: Of Course There Are Important People And Issue

“Of course, just like smoking areas of old where smoke drifts, conversation drifts, too, so it’s not a perfect solution. Maybe the airline can hand out earplugs like they pass out pillows….”

With all the money airports and airlines have spent on noise cancelling technologies, it should be a pretty simple matter to install a noise dampening barrier between the cell phone area and the no-cell phone areas. They wouldn’t want a total barrier, in case someone was yelling for help, but if they could reduce the volume by about 80%, it would go a long way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Of Course There Are Important People

Another issue with planes: you can’t get away.

Near a loud person in the airport? Go sit somewhere else. In a building? Walk away. In a restaurant? Asked to be moved to another table or get up and leave.

In plane, you’re stuck.

Try this on your next plane trip – start singing your favorite song (or least favorite show tune) at the top of your lungs. And keep going and going and going and going. This is freedom of expression. No one should shut you up, since you should be able to make whatever noice you want to without regard to those around you, right?

And for doctors, etc. – if something is so important that they can’t be away from a phone for a few hours, they shouldn’t be traveling.

eeyore says:


Great, one more place that mindless assholes can prattle away pointlessly. Yesterday I was standing in line at a fast food restaurant and the person at the counter stopped to answer his cell phone and explain exactly where he was and what he was going to order before actually going ahead and ordering anything, oblivious to the half-dozen people he was inconveniencing (not including the cashier) directly behind him. The only time I’ve ever seen anyone receive a life-or-death call on a cell phone was when a coworker was notified that there was a kidney waiting for him in Tampa. The other ten billion I’ve seen could wait until the caller or receiver were someplace where the rest of the world didn’t have to listen to them.

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