Three years ago Delta declared that if inflight cell phone calls were made legal they would ban the calls themselves. Most passengers are against inflight phone calls
because they find air travel to be blissful, a peaceful oasis they never complain about now.
Live and Let’s Fly reports that United has now taken the same position.
United wishes to make clear that it has no current plans to allow passenger voice calls using personal devices while airborne, even if future regulatory activity allows for inflight cellular communication…United believes that prohibiting passenger voice calls while airborne is the right thing to do for our employees and our customers…
That should be their right — and their decision. Not everything that annoys a majority of people (my free speech, for instance) ought to be illegal. Businesses ought to be permitted to set rules, and customers can choose which ones to patronize. Because freedom.
Copyright: creatista / 123RF Stock Photo
Airline employee unions inflight cell phone calls are unsafe because the cabin would be noisier and people wouldn’t hear safety announcements, but that’s absolutely ridiculous.
Cell phone calls are being made from planes every single day in Europe, the Mideast and Asia. US Consumers overwhelmingly say they don’t like the idea of cell phone use on planes. Most have never experienced it. In fact nothing bad happens because of it, relatively few people make calls because the service is expensive, and those that do tend to be discrete about it as the airlines as them to.
Anyone who is against it, predicting Really. Bad. Things. has the burden to explain why those bad things will happen on a US airliner when they don’t happen on airberlin, Qatar, Lufthansa, Aer Lingus, Etihad, Virgin Atlantic, SAS, and Emirates.
Amtrak allows cell phones in a confined space, too, and it’s not awful (though conversations around us can sometimes be amusing, and sometimes eye roll-inducing). They also have quiet cars where phones aren’t allowed. There’s only one Amtrak operating commercial train service, you have your choice of airlines and could fly United or Delta who say they’ll ban it if given the opportunity if this is something that matters to you.
Union Station, Washington DC
Planes had seatback phones for years. They weren’t often used because they were expensive, just like inflight cell phone calling is expensive.
The calls that would be made are the ones people find important enough to pay a premium for. A year and a half ago a woman might have been able to stop a suicide if she could have used her phone inflight. There are painful tragedies, and special moments repeating themselves across the country every day. How many business travelers would love to say good night to a young child they rarely see during the week? What would that extra connectedness to a parent mean to that child?
Not every call is important, but some are. If you value the connectivity, fly an airline that doesn’t ban it. If you value listening only to the noise of engines, crying babies, and passengers talking to each other (including drunk ones) then fly an airline that bans it.
This ought to be none of the government’s business.