The DOT recently opened the door to regulating voice calls inflight. Accessibility to things like Skype and Face Time only require a Wifi connection, which is available (theoretically) on most flights.
Coming from a flight attendant perspective, I think allowing voice calls is a bad idea all together. I have yet to experience a live call on a flight, but I’m not too eager for it’s introduction.
I like to think of airplane cabin decency as similar to a library. Each passenger is expected to stay within their personal space. Sure there is some conversation and inevitable shuffling for the restroom, but for the most part, a good passenger is one that keeps to themselves.
Currently, all activities that are provided inflight are conducive to these unspoken courtesy laws. Watching movies, TV and surfing the web all keep us occupied for hours. Don’t forget the option to bring a good book along, or even take a snooze! What’s the common denominator between these activities, you ask? They are self-involved, and won’t impact your neighbor.
If we start allowing passengers to make and receive voice calls, that coveted personal space becomes compromised. To some extent we all are less aware of our surroundings when we engage in conversation. So my fear here is that people will become more focused on what they’re saying than where they are.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for staying connected (I’m at 30,000 feet right now), but not at the expense of others.
Further, I don’t think voice calls are necessary when flying. Texting (iMessage on iPhones), messaging and emailing are all effective ways of staying in touch while off the ground. Communication is not disrupted, and neither are your seat mates.
The DOT is currently working on regulating this activity as a means to “keep the floodgates from opening,” but I would challenge them to question the allowance altogether. As a jet setter myself, I think I’ll pass on this one.
What are your opinions on this policy? Should we go full steam ahead into allowing this new accessibility to keep connected at 30,000, or should we take a second and pull back on the reigns here? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!