For most people, flying has become very mundane, prosaic, functional. It is a means to get from point A to point B. We book our flights on our computers instead of a travel agent. Our boarding passes are on our smart devices. We throw our belongings into our backpacks, carry-ons, or duffel bags just before we have to hop on the train/subway/BART to get to the airport. We wear comfortable clothing, i.e. t-shirt or tank top, jeans or chinos, flip-flops or sneakers. No big deal.
Gone are the days when, as a child, when my parents were to travel abroad, our relatives and their friends would all troop to the airport with us in several cars just to see them off. My mother used to have special clothes made just for the flight portions of her trip. The flight crew were rocks stars. When we traveled, we would spend weeks planning what to pack or what to bring. We would even dream of our time on board the plane. Those were the days!
Last night, it was announced by the F.A.A. that electronic devices such as tablets and e-readers would be allowed on all phases of travel. Cell phones, as long as they are in “Airplane mode” do not have to be powered down. Laptops, because of their size and weight would still need to be stowed away. Yay! I can continue to read my books and magazines on take-off or landing!
NYTimes headline was even more glib:
F.A.A. Moves to Ease Electronics Ban, Opening the Runways to Angry Birds
Well, it’s about time. I believe technology has improved so much these days, how can my e-reader possibly distract the pilots?
However, all this talk of improving our flight experience gave me pause. What next? Will they allow video streaming? I heard that JetBlue‘s wi-fi has newer technology and has allowed for better connectivity. We might be able to view a live game on TV or watch our favorite vampire-slaying-zombie-undercover-schizophrenic crime-fighter dramedies.
What about being able to FaceTime, Skype, or make a phone call? The more I thought about this, the more I became anxious. Imagine having to sit in a confined small space and having to listen to people fighting with their spouse/partner over the phone or confiding about their romance-gone-bad or bragging about their well-defined six-pack, or up-selling their latest sonicvacubrushing lawnmowers. Sheesh! Would I be able to drown them all out by turning up the volume of my music? It’s bad enough when there is a whining out-of-control child with feckless parents nearby. These tend to be temporary. They get tired. They fall asleep, thankfully.
No! I sure hope the airlines and the F.A.A. would never give in to this one. It may just increase the incidence of people running amok or committing suicide on planes. As they say at the movies, “IT. CAN. WAIT.”
P.S. If they insist on allowing personal calls, then we the sanity-conscious ones should insist they install Cones of Silence that passengers would need to bring down to surround themselves every time they want to use their phone. Remember the movie, “Get Smart?”
- F.A.A. Allows Use of Electronic Devices Throughout Flights (nytimes.com)
- In Transit Blog: F.A.A. Approves Use of Devices on Flights (intransit.blogs.nytimes.com)
- FAA Allows Use of Electronic Devices Throughout Flights – New York Times (topbreakingnews.info)
- F.A.A. Lifts Restrictions on Electronics During All Phases of Flight (laughingsquid.com)