NY Times tech columnist Nick Bilton says the FAA may be ready to stop forcing airlines to tell you to turn off your electronic devices during takeoff and landing. There’s never been any solid scientific proof that phones, Kindles, iPods, etc. interfere with the plane’s avionics or other controls, yet the agency has nonetheless kept the rule in place.
That could change by the end of the year, which would be a good thing, as long as they don’t simultaneously decide that passengers should be allowed to talk on their cell phones while in flight. I don’t want to be jammed into my aisle seat next to someone yammering to a friend for minutes on end, in a conversation that will always start with, “Guess where I’m calling you from? The airplane! How cool is that?”
It’s not cool, it’s annoying to everyone around you, especially since you’re not using your indoor voice.
Those of us who remember when there was an AirFone in the back of the center seat in each row remember experiencing this agony. At least then, the cost of the calls — for which you slid your credit card through a slot — was prohibitive enough to deter long conversations. But imagine sitting next to someone with an unlimited talk plan, who uses the onboard wifi connection to have an extended conversation or FaceTime/Skype session.
If the FAA allows cellphone calls at the same time it allows small knives onboard, there will be a lot of use of the latter to cut down on the use of the former.