Here’s another idea for Donald Trump to squash once he puts Elaine Chao in charge of the Transportation Department. The current crop running the joint are considering a proposal to have airlines allow cell phone calls all through your airline flight. Won’t that just be… wonderful? (Time Magazine)
The U.S. Transportation Department is trying to make airplane mode a thing of the past.
The department proposed new rules on Thursday that could let airlines decide if they want to allow voice calls using onboard WiFi, the Wall Street Journal reported. However, the agency would want to make carriers and tickets agents clearly let passengers know that there may be mid-air distractions.
Before the proposal would come into effect, Transportation Department officials will look at what’s expected to be a large volume of public feedback in opposition to allowing phone calls in the air.
Does anyone really need to tell these bureaucrats what a horrible idea this is? As if flying isn’t already a miserable enough experience to begin with unless you can afford to fly in Jennifer Aniston Class. I’m not talking about whatever imaginary dangers of cell phones setting the plane on fire may have spurred the airplane mode rule in the first place. (Unless it’s a Samsung Note 7 of course, in which case the dangers are far from imaginary.) I just mean that none of us needs to be subjected to hours worth of inane chatting by our single serving “friends” on every trip. Let us suffer in peace and just read a book.
As far as making the airlines “clearly let passengers know there may be distractions,” that’s a complete joke. Why would that influence the airlines one iota in either direction? Far more likely is the idea that they would simply allow phone calls in coach but forbid them in First Class or Business Class unless you either went into a private stall to use your phone or… (and this is the genius option) walk back into the coach section to talk on your phone. The airlines can comply simply by putting up signs at the ticket counter and the gate check-in, and why would they care? The goal of the airlines is this age of zero industry competition is to make the flight as uncomfortable and miserable as possible for coach travelers. They know they have you over a barrel because you have to travel anyway, and they want to give you every negative incentive possible to pay for an upgrade to the pricey seats. (Or a least to get an extra 1.5 inches of legroom.) Subjecting flyers to endless gabbing on cell phones in coach would be an incentive for them, not a consideration for continued restrictions.
Fortunately this process is likely to take years, assuming it happens at all. In the meantime, this is one restriction which we should be glad is still with us. Let people text and email on their phones all they like for the whole flight. But actual calls should remain on the ground. In the meantime, to lift your spirits slightly, here’s the Emirate Airlines Jennifer Aniston commercial blooper reel.