posted by Matt W on December 4th, 2013

During this current holiday travel season, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently made public its proposed lifting of the cell phone ban on planes.

Please no.

People aren’t very good at using cell phones politely. For every whispered, “So great to hear from you, but I’m in a restaurant, let me call you back in 20 minutes,” there is an obnoxiously loud, “NO PROBLEM, I’VE GOT PLENTY OF TIME!” shouted from the booth next to you. And while my hope over the years has been that people realized how annoying loud cell phone usage is, what has actually happened is people talk louder so they can be heard over all the other loud cell phone talkers in the establishment. But luckily on land there is an opportunity to escape. Pay your bill and walk out and the person is out of your life, unless of course they’re related, or that person is you.

In a plane, not so much.

Now, I have had some bad flight encounters over the years. For example:

  • I had a small Indonesian family yell for an entire flight and kick me in the back of the seat,
  • I sat next to a woman, who made obnoxious mystery meat sandwiches for her large family and passed them over me multiple times on an international flight,
  • I had a woman change a diaper next to me, “It’s easier here than in the restroom, I hope you don’t mind.” (Her comment might have been more meaningful if offered before the diaper was actually off.)

But these were just random people that behaved, in my opinion, poorly on a flight. The FCC is looking at making it OK to be rude on each and every flight, every day, forever. And while I’m generally not a big fan of taking away people’s rights to do things, sometimes the government needs to step in and say, “Wow, things could get pretty ugly at 35,000 feet, if we make an environment that people are pissed off at each other all the time.”

Don’t do it!

Well, airlines, flight attendants, and the general public have come out against this plan. Thank goodness. Delta Airlines has already said that there is no way that they will ever allow cell phone usage on flights. But we all know that if United made more money than Delta and it was linked back in any way to offering flights with cell phone usage available, Delta would change their policy as fast it takes to buy a Delta ticket online (actually probably faster since it takes freaking forever to buy a ticket these days.)

As technology becomes more and more a part of our every-second lives, we need to figure out how to better interact with those we are physically close to AND those we are technologically close to. I just don’t think allowing cell phones on planes is the place to push this interaction until we have a better idea of how to interact with others with both feet on terra firma.

Travel safe this holiday season! And remember it might be the last only-slightly annoying travel experience you have.



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