Today the FAA announced that they will allow passengers to play games, watch videos and read books on their electronic devices during take off and landing, effective as early as the end of the year.
Cellphone use will still be restricted to airplane mode or cell service disabled, according to the Agency.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx feels that the decision “honors both our commitment to safety and consumers’ increasing desire to use their electronic devices during all phases of their flights…”.
Debate on whether it’s a good idea has been on the table for years…ever since electronic devices became much more accessible by the general public and more sophisticated. Although this is a new move by the FAA, it’s a small gesture towards the real want that many passengers want-the ability to make calls, on their personal cellphone while in the air.
Being an International Entertainment Act, all of The Amazing Waiters travel frequently, on numerous airlines during the year. “After taking an informal poll, most of us feel that allowing passengers to make calls during flights would be a bad idea”, states James Anest, Co-Creator of the group. “Just close your eyes and imagine this…imagine being on a flight, already cramped (if you’re in Coach), and the guy in the middle seat starts chatting on the phone 10 minutes into your 6 hour fight. He talks for 45 minutes. He can’t hear very well, so guess what? He talks loudly…just close your eyes and imagine this…now imagine 4 or 5 other people around you doing the same thing…make sure you buy a good set of noise-canceling headphones….” It’s not hard to understand why some would not want this. According to a USA Today article written in October of 2012, “Airline customers have commonly opposed in-flight Cellphone capabilities because passengers don’t want to endure listening to calls from their fellow travelers on a flight,” says Victoria Day, spokeswoman for the industry group Airlines for America.
Many travelers would argue it’s an efficient way to conduct business on longer flights, thus making air travel more viable in the age of telecommunication-lengthening the work day for air commuters and making them more productive. According the aforementioned USA Today article, “There is a misconception out there that it is dangerous,” says Patrick Brannelly, spokesman for Emirates Airline, which began offering the service in 2008 and now has it on about 90 of 175 planes. “I think the real fear is people jabbering on the phone at loud volume, annoying people around them. That just simply hasn’t happened.”
What would the cost be? We think that the only reason the FAA has not allowed cell phone calls on planes during flight is because Cell Phone companies have not found a way to adequately charge for them. If airlines cannot get a piece of the action for cell calls placed on their planes, why allow it? The FAA report, which surveyed airlines about how the services work, found complaints about the cost of service or uncertainty about its availability on some planes. Costs vary. One carrier charges $12 a minute, though the price typically is about $2.50 for an average two-minute call. If the charge is this high, maybe it won’t be such a pain to everyone around them.
What do you think?
The Amazing Waiters are an international Singing Waiter act that provides customized singing shows for unsuspecting audiences. For more information, visit their website, www.amazingwaiters.com
or call 855-899-7701