Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies who will dazzle you with insight on various topics. After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:
Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.
Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.
Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World
My first trip through the friendly skies was at the tender age of eleven. I’d never even heard of a cell phone back in 1989, and my carry-on consisted of Mad Comics and bubble gum. And snacks. I was headed to California, anticipating a week-long trip with my favorite Aunt. I’ll never forget the immense joy I felt after landing in San Fran, and meeting her at my gate. We gave each other the biggest hug imaginable, and the gate attendant said, “I don’t think I need to make sure you two know each other.” It was the best trip, and the best flight, ever!
Fast forward to 2013. I’ve flown a lot since those early days. My last trip for a friend’s wedding sent me to my hometown in Oregon, and on one of the connecting flights, I was pages-deep into a good book on my Nook when a flight attendant interrupted me. “Ma’am, you’ll need to turn off your electronic device, and store it until it’s safe to turn it back on.” Honestly, I’ve never bought into the whole “electronic devices will bring the whole damn plane down” mentality. I do try and remember to turn off my cell phone before a flight, but I often forget. I manage to arrive at my destination safely, regardless of my “safety issues” (I had to throw that terminology in there. An ex-husband once told me I had “safety issues”). I guess forgetting to turn my cell phone off when I board a plane could be considered a safety issue.
Anyway, I was asked to turn off my Nook. My Nook. How much damage is my little Nook capable of? Does it matter if we still have our cell phones and laptops on, anyway? Maybe I’m not entirely sure as to why it’s such a big deal.
Which is why I chose the topic for this week: What’s your take on airlines allowing cell phone usage while in-flight? Are you for it, or against it? I chose this topic, because it’s bigger than laptops and electronic readers. It’s bigger than you, or me. I chose this topic, because Alec Baldwin is still poking fun at himself in commercials, showcasing his naughty incident on an American Airlines flight back in 2011. Apparently, cell phones on planes are bad. Very bad.
But, are they really? I had to discover this for myself. According to Wiki, the Federal Aviation Committee (FAC) does not ban the usage of electronic devices. They leave that decision up to the airlines. You can read more about that here. Electronics can cause an interference with the navigation or communication systems on a plane. That’s why most airlines have a strict policy that you have to stow anything electronic away during take-off, and landing.
And cell phones? Fuhgeddaboudit. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has banned the use of cell phones all together. Or, they had. According to this CNN report, there are new technologies offered to make cell phone usage safe, and leaving them turned off a thing of the past. The FCC has considered lifting this ban, but that doesn’t mean the airlines will jump on the “cell phones are awesome” bandwagon. Most airlines (Delta, Continental, Jet Blue to name a few) don’t want to buy the new equipment to make cell phone usage safe on planes. American Airlines is considering it. Some airlines are even considering allowing texting only, so loud conversations 20,000 feet up won’t interfere with a passenger’s right to quiet.
Now that’s I’ve given the back story, here’s my take on it: If cell phone usage won’t interfere with the plane’s ability to get it’s passengers home safely, what’s the big deal? As I mentioned earlier, I’ve left my cell phone on, by accident, dozens of times, and we’ve always made our destination. I’m sure I’m not the only traveler who has done this. On the same flight. Nothing has ever “jammed up”, or “gotten screwy”, not that I’m aware of, anyway. My flights have never been delayed or cancelled. I can understand possibly banning chit-chat via voice communication on flights (No one needs to hear about someone’s hemorrhoid flare-up, or how wasted a passenger got the night before), but if they want to text with someone… who cares? Not that this would even remotely apply to me. I never, EVER have bars on my phone when I’m up in a plane. Ever. If the ban is lifted, and cell phones are allowed the entire flight, I’m sure cell phone companies are going to build towers that are like castles in the sky. My phone will have bars. It’s like magic!
So, what do you think? Do you think airlines should allow cell phone usage on their planes? I’d love to hear your thoughts!