For Your Flight Enjoyment

In-flight device rules are expected to ease up by year end. Photo Credit Marty Katz, (c) The New York Times Company

In-flight device rules are expected to ease up by year-end. Photo Credit Marty Katz, (c) The New York Times Company

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.

A passenger uses a tablet  aboard a Southwest Airlines flight. Photo Credit (c) REDUX Pictures NBC News

A passenger uses a tablet aboard a Southwest Airlines flight. Photo Credit (c) REDUX Pictures NBC News

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?”

"Chief, I request the cone of silence."

“Chief, I request the cone of silence.” (Photo credit: OldOnliner)


This entry was posted in Air Travel, e-reader, F.A.A., Flying, Laptop, Smart Devices, Smart phone, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to For Your Flight Enjoyment

  1. Pingback: Not the Family Business!

  2. daniheart21 says:

    I love the cones of silence idea. 🙂 LOL Very informative.


  3. alisasibrova says:

    Oh, I enjoyed the article! I am a very frequent traveler, I fly every other month, and while domestic flights are not a big deal anymore, transatlantic is still a big deal every time I fly. That 10 h flight is always something special!


  4. I too remember when going on a plane you dressed up. My mother freaked out the first time I wore jeans on the plane.


  5. frizztext says:

    I always asked myself, how can my e-reader, digital camera, PC possibly distract the pilots?


    • likeitiz says:

      I got a small lecture about this from a cousin who’s beyond elbow deep into tech. It has to do with the frequencies that our devices are at. However, having said that, he told me, the aviation industry has gone so far ahead in their technology that our devices should not provide any interference. It is now a matter of size and weight. We can’t have “death by laptop injury” as a headline for an airline disaster, I suppose. 🙂


  6. Beth Ann says:

    I am a fairly frequent flier—I refer to my husband as “Mr. Diamond” so you know he flies all the time! I knew this was coming down the pike and am so very glad. I don’t want to hear phone calls but being free to use ereaders all the time is fabulous, IMHO. That is the way I travel and it is an essential part of my carryon items. Yay for progress! Oh and I am a “column mate” from Yeah Write! Glad to meet you!


  7. I haven’t flown in eight years and don’t anticipate starting up again any time soon. If cell phones were permitted for the entire flight, I think I’d prefer to drive.


  8. Lucid Gypsy says:

    There are always pros and cons!


  9. The last time I went to the Philippines all the way to my hometown, it was two days of ordeal. My worst nightmare, the tiny toilet that hundreds of passengers use in such long flights. The free movies helped and food. My best friend? Benadryl for my Zzz’s.


  10. lidipiri says:

    I remember the days of dressing up to travel. But I love the casualness I can exude nowadays too. But a plane is still magical to me. I adore observing people in the airport their anonymity making their actions more “real”. And getting on that plane still fills me with this giddiness that no amount of traveling can take away.
    But phone conversations on planes scare me quite a bit. Somehow I don’t think it will happen but you never know…. Not much different, however, from other unavoidable situations like when I traveled with a delightful woman next to me who unfortunately had, I believed, poured on herself at least a half bottle of perfume… and it was a 10 hour filled to capacity flight!


  11. rarasaur says:

    I’m really not a traveler and haven’t been on a plane in years, but I’m gratified to know I can bring my ebooks now. The idea of people skyping near me is sort of panic-inducing, though, 🙂

    (Are you still doing NanoPoblano? Did you happen to link up with BlogHer or YeahWrite? :D)


  12. I traveled extensively, for business and pleasure, for decades. I have already given up on flying, the TSA, and all of the related ‘loss of customer experience’ focus. My two most recent trip cross-country were via Amtrak and what a delightful experience they have been. Yes, there is a considerable trade-off in time terms but that is a cost I am willing to absorb if it alleviates the aforementioned alternative. You get to engage people in meaningful conversation, eat decent food, see our beautiful country at ground level, and there are minimal delays and no TSA harassment. There is always choice. 🙂


    • likeitiz says:

      The unfortunate reality with these devices is that we are all isolated in our own little worlds. There is no more of that spontaneity in meeting strangers and striking up interesting conversation. Not when almost everybody has their nose buried on a screen.


  13. auntyuta says:

    “Imagine having to sit in a confined small space and having to listen to people fighting with their spouse/partner over the phone . . . :
    On our inter-urban trains the first and the last car are designated ‘quiet cars now’, that means people are supposed to talk as little as possible, and if they have to talk to talk in a very soft voice.


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