At the start of my marathon flying adventure last week I thought the next flying etiquette post would be about the woman that sprayed perfume a few rows in front of me. But on my return I was distracted by something else… (But don’t worry. The perfume rant will come soon!)
Remember a few weeks ago when we talked about using speaker phone in public? The general consensus was that speaker phone should be saved for private spaces. But what about other cell phone noises? I’m not talking about the occasional text message notification or phone ringing (although a lot of that gets pretty darn annoying too!) but other noises. Typing clicks, games, movies….
Okay. Here was the situation last week. I was supposed to go home on Thursday but due to the snow in New York had to stay until Friday. There were tons of cancelled flights and stranded travelers, and people were pissy. On the first leg a teenager was sitting in the middle seat in the row behind me, and right after landing he started playing a game. How do I know? Because I heard every ding and click, from every single move he made with the game. Eventually after about twenty minutes the person next to him said, “Would you mind putting that on silent?” The teenager said, “It’s not that loud,” and proceeded to continue playing for the rest of the flight.
Then on my second flight the woman sitting next to me was using the internet to exchange voice messages with someone in Italian. Every few minutes she would play a message, then record a response and send it. All without headphones.
Finally, while we were taxiing to the gate a man in the row ahead of me started sending emails or text messages, with the key clicks on. I don’t know what information he was sending that was so critical, but he typed for a solid five to seven minutes with a click for every character.
In general, I feel like during flights you just don’t have much control over your environment so it’s up to you to provide for your comfort. Bring an eye mask if you want to block out light, a scarf or blanket if you think you’ll get cold, and headphones if you want to block out sound. That being said, I turn my phone on silent as soon as I get on the plane. No one wants to hear what I’m doing, and since my phone is either in my pocket or on my tray I am still alerted when I get a message. And for heaven’s sake, no one wants to hear you playing a game!! There is no need whatsoever for game noises to be heard in public—either turn them off or use headphones.
The bottom line: No one can force you to put your phone on silent during, but it’s polite to consider the impact you’re having on others nearby. At the same time, since you can’t force those around you to be silent, bring headphones so you can block out unwanted noise.
Readers, do you turn your phone on silent during travel? Do you think key-click noises are annoying?
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