Poll: Using Cell Phones on Planes

By now, you’ve all probably heard that Virgin Atlantic is allowing limited cell phone use on their planes. Only six passengers can use the service at a time, and it’s pretty price—over $1.50 per minute and $.20 per text. And the FAA still won’t allow cell phone usage on planes in the US, so the service won’t be available within 250 miles of the US. Many other airlines around the world already offer this service. (Which begs the question—why does the FAA think cell phones are so dangerous?? But that’s a topic for another day….)

I’ll be honest—I dread this becoming widespread. I read somewhere (forgot where-sorry!) that in a survey, half of the respondents would use a cell phone on a plane. While I would hope that’s not true, unfortunately it sounds about right. Obviously emergencies are one thing, and a quick call isn’t a big deal. But what concerns me most is the idea of inconsiderate people right next to me gossiping for an hour about what their cousin’s best friend’s boyfriend did over the weekend…. This happens already everywhere from stores to restaurants to restrooms (awkward!). It just seems sad that one of the few places where cell phone conversations are forbidden is about to go away…. Guess I’ll have to remember my noise-canceling headphones every flight!

Readers, tell me—how do you feel about cell phones on planes?

Cell phones in flight: Yay or nay?

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Comments

  1. I am absolutely dreading it. Yes, people already talk on planes, but people talk louder on the phone than they do in person (I am guilty of this myself).

  2. I’m with Chad in dreading it.

    It’s bad enough to be seated next to “cell phone guy” when you’re parked at the gate. Two hours next to someone talking on their phone is unbearable.

    I’d even pay more to be seated in a quiet zone.

  3. This will only add to the misery that has become air travel. My read dread is that first class will be the primary location where this activity will occur.

  4. As for why the FAA doesn’t allow phones, its “terrorism” related. The FAA stated, in 2007, “that terrorists might use the signal from a cell phone to detonate an onboard bomb.”

  5. I said other. I guess I just don’t really care strongly any way. If it’s only six people at a time then part of me thinks it’s not a big deal but if someone is rude about it, then I’d dread it at that moment. I certainly don’t feel like I’d use that time to talk myself – I kind of look forward to that free time to do work or read or knit.

  6. I can just imagine all the people who would call friends just to ask, “Guess where I’m calling from?”

  7. It is rather daft to think that terrorists won’t use mobile phones to set off an onboard bomb just because it is not allowed. Unless it is jammed, they still could, whatever the regulations say.

  8. Its not terrorism- its physics.
    When you are on the ground your cell phone can “see” 1-5 towers. The software can handle that and route you one tower for your phone call.
    When you are in the air your phone can “see” 20 or more towers. All those towers are pinging right back. It overloads the system.
    Over water you don’t have that problem. So Virgin can route the phone calls.
    Over land will need some sort of router that will pick off the signal before the ground towers can see it.

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