U.S. public divided on in-flight cell phone use


The friendly skies are not so affable when it comes to using cell phones on commercial airliners.

Nearly half of U.S. residents say they would oppose allowing cell phone use aboard flights even if there were no issues with the phones interfering with aircraft communications systems, a Department of Transportation survey finds. About four out of 10 residents said cell phone use should definitely or probably be permitted.

But, as any parent of a teenager could have predicted, there is a cell phone generation gap. Among residents aged 65 and older, about 60% oppose cell phone use in flight, while less than a third support it.

For people aged 18 to 34, nearly half support cell phone use in flight, while a little over a third oppose it, the survey found.

The opinions on in-flight cell phone use were part of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics' annual household survey, which questioned 979 residents in November 2007 and 1,063 residents in November 2006. The survey has a plus or minus error rate of about 3%.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Communications Commission currently ban passengers from making cell phone calls in-flight. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee last week approved a bill to make the ban permanent.

The committee's action followed moves by the European Union to let airline passengers talk on their cell phones during flight. Some U.S. airlines are experimenting with in-flight Internet access.

Lawmakers said they worry that if the ban is lifted, fights will erupt between passengers who talk loudly on the phones and others who find the callers obnoxious. Some lawmakers also said they fear domestic airlines might try to get the cell phone ban lifted so they can charge passengers extra to sit in no-phone sections.

© Wire reports

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I bet that the vote would be far more opposed to cell phone use in Japan.

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How about a couple phone booth style areas where those with keitai addictions can get their fix? Definitely not for the person sitting around me for 13 hours.

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I'm torn on the subject, personally. I could go for quiet phone usage, considering it's federal law or something that you have to obey the orders of the flight attendents; just in case you get too loud... conversely, jerks have this tendency to get away with things by way of escalation. Internet and data connections aren't as easily abused with loud talking. So long as rules are put in place and enforced, it shouldn't cause problems.

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Some lawmakers also said they fear domestic airlines might try to get the cell phone ban lifted so they can charge passengers extra to sit in no-phone sections.

How about charging extra for use of a phone section?

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" airlines might try to get the cell phone ban lifted so they can charge passengers extra to sit in no-phone sections"!?... How's that for backwards. Should be those who want to use cell phones should be seated in special phone sections and pay extra for it. The status quo currently is: A whole lotta passengers who just want some peace and quiet while they bear their no-frills flying experience.

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I don't get why cellphone use should be allowed on planes!!! Loads of users would clearly be regardless/careless of other passengers. It would definitely annoy people around(maybe me the first...).

Also, at the moment you already have the possibility to call using your seat remote controler/phone, paying by credit card so why not simply reducing the fees of onboard calls!?

In-flight Internet access as it seems to be on trial in the U.S. , could be a nice alternative, allowing passengers to even use softwares such as MSN Messenger/Skype etc with some efficient noise-cancelling ear-phones/plugs and mic...


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It's bad enough making us suffer the screaming kids and the lard butts, they want to charge us extra to only listen to noisy jerks from a slightly greater distance?

It's still like trying to swim in the no-pee section of the pool.

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"others who find the callers obnoxious"

Hey, there's obnoxious people everywhere you go. Some of them are talking on their cell phones and some of them are talking directly to people in front of them. When I'm on the bus, the train or the plane, I just take a wet tissue, tear off a couple pieces, roll 'em up into little balls and stick 'em in my ears - blocks out 80% plus of the noise.

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There are people who manage to talk on their cell phone so quietly that hardly anyone notices. But the majority seem to think it necessary to shout, which is rather unpleasant if you can't move out of the way like on airplanes. Ban it outright lest people start occupying the toilets for their urgent calls - the phone calls, that is.

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presto345: good, er, call!

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kudos to Harsan ronyo for coming up with some ideas. Its not as simple as a)allow or b)ban.

Texting should be allowed at all times. Talking could be permitted at certain intervals, provided the user is speaking in a normal volume. Yeah, I know that still annoys some people who cannot bear to hear a voice near them without being a part of the conversation, but I am confident those people will grow up one day.

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I agree that talking on cell phones while on the plane shouldn't be banned, but I like the idea of making people use a designated cell phone area so as not to disturb passengers that may be trying to sleep.


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Cellphones seat on board will be as disgusting as the former smoking section.

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Americans ( if they dont know it) are famous for talking loudly in public ( whether on a phone or not) thats why not always appreciated as tourists. ... would be horrible I think, especially if from Japan when you are used to a respect culture of not using phones on trains etc. Maybe they could be phoneing home complaining about the rubbish service on the plane and late flight again.

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888naff, go figure stereotyping the Americans as loud and the Japan as a more respectful culture. Sorry but i've seen a lot of J-teens gabbing on the phone at full blast, even in trains in Tokyo.

Anyway, I think the ban should remain. Good god folks, we survived without cell phones before, we'll surely survive a plane ride! They should just stick to the satellite phones.

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Considering mobiles can and have been adapted to act as detonators, I'd have thought most people would be prepared to do without them during a flight as a trade-off for greater peace of mind. I know what my priorities are.

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Considering how we cannot escape for hours while on a flight, I feel we need either to maintain the ban or to have a mobile phone section on the plane. I feel lawmakers concern over theoretical fights breaking out are warranted as we cannot change our seat or otherwise escape until the flight is over. Talking in a certain "phone booth" area is another good idea I think like those on the Shinkansen who have manners and go the end sections of cars to talk.

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888naff- Americans (and yeah, us Hoser Canadians) tend not to have that self-awareness of being too loud in public. But have you ever heard a Japanese oyaji talk in anything less than a shout when on a keitai?? people the world over have proven they can't behave with civility when cell phones are involved. Theres no way they should be allowed on planes

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