13 Dec

Calling from 35,000 feet

Using your cell phone during flight may become a reality

So, are you ready to hear your seatmate blab on the phone all flight long?  Cell phone calls may soon be allowed… but are you ready for it?

The Department of Transportation is gathering comments from the public, and will decide if it bans Wi-Fi and cellular calls all together, or if it goes ahead and allows passengers to call using Wi-Fi.  The current idea is to have an announcement prior to takeoff so that passengers know, but is that enough…and that is what the DOT wants to know from us.  

Here are the details from the DOT on Wi-Fi calling, and it’s current request for comments.

So, what to make of it?

The flight attendants and pilots that I have talked to lean towards not having voice calls.  And the lean heavy towards silence.  Not that they do not want people to be able to communicate…we do have Internet connection in most flights.  For them, a quiet cabin is a great cabin.  No disruptions, no potential fights between passengers, and an easy flight to manage.  

Flight attendants also do not want to enforce another rule.  They just want you to stay seated, read your magazine, watch your movie, surf the internet and drink your free soda (if you still get one.)  

When Wi-Fi was first introduced, cabin crews moaned about having to do more because we could connect to the Internet up in the air.  Would they have to show you how to do it on your laptop?  Would they have to play help desk if the connection was bad?  What if a passenger was surfing porn, would they have to stop it?  It was really blown out of proportion.  In the years since we could connect in mid air at 500 mph, I have worked for an airline, flown hundreds of times, written countless posts and stayed current with all aviation trends…and I think (maybe) I have seen two incidents that bubbled up.

Let’s be real

Ask yourself if it is really going to “end the flight experience as you know it” by answering these questions:

  1. Does it bug you when people next to you have a conversation?
  2. On your last flight, did you make a phone call as soon as you landed?  Did the person next to you?  Did it bug you?
  3. On your next flight, see if you can hear a passenger two rows in front or behind you?
  4. Do you own headphones?
  5. Do you fly a lot and would you want to call a client while you are flying?
  6. Would you call one of your kids or your spouse to say hello and tell them you miss them?
  7. Is it really going to bother you?

Now, go ahed, push your seat back, and unlock your tray table…and enjoy your flight.

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