Fast Focus: 'Should cellphones be allowed on airplanes?' Text, yes; talk, no

December 14, 2013 

Few things airlines have done to us to make travel less pleasant could match the horror of allowing extended cellphone use on airplanes.

My wife and I travel frequently, often on long flights. We also spend considerable time in airport lounges. While waiting for flights, I often hear one end of a phone conversation, sometimes including information of a manifestly private nature. It seems that some folks cannot tell how loudly they are talking when they talk on a cellphone and don't notice (or care) who else can hear their conversation. In a loud environment some folks just talk louder. I can and do move away from these uncomfortable conversations to another part of the lounge.

I dread the thought of people extending those conversations onto the plane. I envision sitting mid-plane on a long, perhaps overnight, flight in a five-seat-wide row with a stressed out divorcee complaining about her slimy ex-husband on one side and a businessman conducting a long distance sales call on the other. On a full plane there could be dozens of such conversations. The cacophony could push some folks, myself included, to desperate measures.

I do welcome the opportunity to use electronic devices during the flight, certainly when folks use their headphones. I also believe that allowing passengers to send and receive text messages is practical and sensible. But until the Cone of Silence Maxwell Smart employed in Get Smart is perfected, please continue the ban on cellphone use during flights.

-- ROBERT EMMINGHAM, Kennewick

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