Cell Phones & Air Travel

Those who know me in real life, they know that I’m not a big fan of cell phones. Yes, they’re invaluable when you need to get in touch with someone and are an added benefit when you can look up the phone number for the address of a business. However, cell phones I feel are completely “dumbing down” society. Go to a restaurant and whether it is a high end one or a chain establishment, at the majority of the tables there will be at least one diner on his cell phone. The worst is when there is a family dining and almost all of them (young children included in this) are on their phones, not talking to each other, or the other comical extreme-a couple out who are not talking to one another. You’re walking on a street and almost everyone you pass by is either talking on the phone or texting someone. Driving and cell phones…well, I don’t even want to go there. Long gone is the era when people could actually exist without cell phones. Long gone are the times when commercial breaks didn’t include multiple cell phone commercials. Children no longer are children because kindergartners are being given cell phones and are growing up thinking “this is normal.”

But this post was not a diatribe against cell phones (well, somewhat). It has to do with recent announcements that the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is considering lifting the ban on cell phones during air travel. I am not exaggerating when I say I…will…cry if this happens. A furor erupted on the web, both from concerned travelers like myself and flight attendants, the individuals whose opinion I would respect more than anyone’s, who are ardently against this for good reason.

Air travel is a completely miserable experience. I fly because it gets me to my final destination, not because I enjoy waiting in line at security, removing shoes, belts, and jewelry, waiting in a dismal gat area, and then suffering through a crappy experience in-flight. People are utterly obnoxious on flights and with each passing year I feel that the obnoxious levels only rise. I don’t want to say “all” people because I know there are still some considerate individuals out there. But between the jerks who insist on wheeling on their over sized luggage because they’re too cheap to shell out $25 to check their bags and then basically “steal” the bin space near your seat, to those who can’t fit in their seats and as a result encroach on your already pitifully small space, to the individuals who think it’s perfectly “all right” to recline their seats so far back that they’re basically in the laps of the travelers behind them, I can’t even fathom how much worse it will be if I have to hear someone’s loud, pathetic conversation for five plus hours. People already “push the limit” when it takes how much effort to finally power off their cell phones because they just have to have that one last call, or the moment the plane has landed the phones are turned on immediately.

With the exception of a head of state, no one is that important that they need to talk on their cell phones. People existed for centuries without them and more importantly, air travelers existed for decades without them and no one is worse for wear. People will make any excuse to “stay connected” when really there is no need to be “connected” 30,000 feet in the air.

Cell phones during a flight can also lead to trouble. An individual gets into a heated screaming match while on the phone? Yes, that will make for a comfortable and not scary plane ride. Someone is trying to sleep and the person next to them won’t stop talking on the cell phone. A fight breaks out.

For the individuals who make the weak claim that drunks and screaming babies have long ruined air travel-yes, there is no denying that those are unpleasant. However, neither of those things is necessarily “always” an occurrence. But give people the option of being able to talk during a flight-that will always be the case.


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  • Reply
    December 5, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    I have been on tarmacs when people are still talking on their phone next to me. I even got to hear a whole argument that went on until she lost service. At what point do you tell the flight attendant? I think people can be allowed to use them for internet and such but not for talking. If you thought crying babies were annoying on flights, this is only going to add to people getting agitated.

    • Reply
      Julie Tulba
      December 6, 2013 at 11:01 pm

      What I always find the most amazing is that people are so outlandish with the amount of information they share in public spaces whereas I do not like to “air my laundry” in public. But it seems more and more people could care less.

      It seems most people are against it because most do know how crazy an idea it would be so hopefully rumination on the matter is as far as it goes!

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