Will Self-Control Work For In-Flight Internet Access?

from the are-people-trustworthy? dept

With in-flight internet access getting closer and closer to reality for many airlines, there are still plenty of questions about etiquette and acceptable behaviors. Some airlines are purposely setting up content filters and blocking the use of VoIP (as much as possible, since it’s possible to get around most blocks), but as Broadband Reports points out, some believe that people will self-regulate, in most cases. People surfing porn at open WiFi hotspots hasn’t been a huge issue, because people know that others are around and so they have enough self-control. The same should be true on airplanes. And while we all know people who are oblivious to how rude it is to hold a loud mobile phone conversation in public, a few reminders and social cues may be enough to keep that from being a serious problem in the air. There will be exceptions — but is trying to eliminate those few exceptions worth having a near total ban on certain activities?

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Comments on “Will Self-Control Work For In-Flight Internet Access?”

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Griffon (profile) says:

just like the theater...

They run all those cute trailers before a movie to try and get people to not be jackasses with their phones. Yet I can’t recall the last time I was at movies and a half dozen phones didn’t go off. Then there are the occasional people who actually ‘answer’ them during the movie. So much for social pressure keeping order, people just don’t care these days, and voip on the phones might be worse.

Solburn (user link) says:

Re: just like the theater...

Which is why I no longer go to movie theaters any more. My home experience on my HDTV, audio system, and recliner are way better. And yes I have to wait for the movie to come out, but I’m OK with that.

Theaters will have to do a better job at making the movie experience better before I spend any money with them (like Beowulf on IMAX 3D).

Andrewjh says:

Works on the bus

I recently took BoltBus (new low-fare service that includes wi-fi) from Boston to NY and back, and I thought I’d have issues similar to those discussed in the original post. The thing is, people seemed to respect the driver’s request that they keep cell phone conversations to a minimum and limit their internet activities so that all could make use of the limited bandwidth.
I think the thing about courtesy in a space as confined as a bus or plane is that it’s different than in movie theaters or restaurants – there’s really nowhere to go, and if you’re found doing something that’s really annoying to those around you, there’s really no way to get away with it. Self-control may not work on planes in all cases, but group-policing or a sort of hyper-local neighborhood watch will…

Sean (user link) says:

Meeting nice Mr. Taser

It’ll be just like drinking – there’ll always be a certain number of stupid people who abuse the situation, and then a polite air attendant will have a word and ask them to modify their behaviour, and any failure to do so will result in a ground-side meeting with Mr. Taser and Mrs. Pepperspray, followed by relaxing break in the county spiritual retreat, allowing them to reasess their life-choices… And that’s how it should be.

saleh says:

People already self regulate porn watching, but rudeness is another matter

I fly 100,000+ miles a year, and have never seen anyone watching porn on their laptop or looking at dirty magazines in-flight. I would imagine that any discerning porn aficionado would have some socked away on their hard drive, and this would already be a problem if not for social pressure.

Per JB’s comment, I do see many passengers who are rude and/or filthy, and expect the flight crew to be their personal servants. I would imagine that bad behavior would be the norm if reasonably priced in-flight phone service were available.

nipseyrussell says:

i (and everyone else) have 100% capability to view pron on the airplane now: dirty magazines are easily obtained in the airport and my laptop has quite a large harddrive. i dont take advantage of that “capability” and have never seen anyone else do so. why would you think things would change simply because the internet is available during that few hours of flight time????

Dan Zee (profile) says:

No Free Phone Calls

Well, VOIP should use less bandwidth than people downloading files, so are the airlines really trying to ban free phone calls from the air so they can push their more expensive in-flight phone services?

Maybe they could develop a little network monitor app that shows the amount of bandwidth being used, so if there aren’t too many people using the connection, you could sneak in a quick phone call or download a file.

Jake says:

Re: No Free Phone Calls

I think the limited phone call thing is an issue more because they don’t want the noise of several people talking on the plane and disturbing other passengers, rather than it being a problem with bandwith usage. Imagine if even 20 passengers were conversing on their phones at once; it would be hell. Therefore, it must be limited.

Some people DO have plenty of self-control. The majority do not (at least from my experiences in planes, theaters, and other public places).

re: nipseyrussell says:

People don't need the internet

I agree, porn doesn’t need to be on the “innernet” and there are many other avenues that the needy could have been using all along for that (and some might even get more excited when they know others can see what they are looking at)…people have been carrying portable DVD players and MP3 players for a long time and I find it highly annoying enough to listen to someone watch a movie with headphones on and laugh out loud or sing with their music while I am trying to nap in the seat next to them. At least emailing is usually quiet, and a little common sense on the phone calls is a good plan. Use instant messaging!

anne (profile) says:

In the original news story, there’s mention of what happens when the yahoo in front of you decides to recline their seat as far back as it will go, and your laptop is on the fold-down tray? As far back as 1990, I recall telling a woman with three children sitting in front of me on a red-eye from DC to LA that if her little darlings continued playing with the seat controls, she could buy me a new laptop, because the monsters kept tilting the seats back and forth.

I had asked her nicely several times and she just ignored me, so the last time I asked, it was in a very loud voice, and it worked. She took control of her kids and they stopped playing with the seats. Today I wouldn’t dare to get so loud on an airplane, with the Nazi attitude of flight crews.

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