Would you want people making calls on your flight?
This week, a debate has been reignited in the USA over whether airlines should allow passengers to make phone calls during flights.
It began when Federal Communications Commission chairman Thomas Wheeler said there was no safety reason not allow calls on board aeroplanes and that it was therefore the choice of individual airlines whether to enable passengers to make calls.
“When the rationale for a rule doesn’t exist, the rule shouldn’t exist,” he said. “[However], I’m the last person in the world who wants to listen to somebody talking.”
According to an Associated Press-GfK poll, Mr Wheeler is not the only one. Almost two-thirds (59 per cent) of those passengers who have flown at least once in the past 12 months oppose the idea. Opposition increases among more frequent fliers, with more than three-quarters (78 per cent) of travellers who’ve been on four or more flights in the last year against allowing their peers to make calls.
Similar results have also been produced by surveys in the UK. Last year, Skyscanner found that almost nine in ten people (86 per cent) believe the drawbacks of listening to other people’s conversations outweigh the benefits of the technology.
“In a world where we are now almost always ‘on call’, it seems people do not want to say goodbye to their last sanctuary of non-connectivity. Flying allows us to switch off for a few hours, both from our own calls, and other people’s,” commented Sam Baldwin, Skyscanner’s travel editor.
Some airlines are in agreement with passengers, with Delta telling the AP that “the overwhelming sentiment” is for the phone ban to remain. However, others, such as Virgin Atlantic, have already introduced in-flight mobile technology.
“We have listened to what customers want and connectivity in the air is always on the wishlist,” claimed Steve Griffiths, chief operating officer at Virgin Atlantic, when the airline launched its service in 2012.
Which side are you on when it comes to in-flight calling and texting?