The next time you fly…
…how much EXTRA would you be willing to pay:
• To be able to TALK on your cell phone during the flight?
• To be able to USE THE INTERNET for limited web surfing, EMAIL, and TEXT AND INSTANT MESSAGING during the flight?
• Would you be willing to pay extra to get on a flight where NO CELL PHONE CALLS were allowed?
These are the kinds of flight options you may soon find yourself choosing between…
…because earlier this week, the European Union approved the use of cell phones on flights and presumably the same kind of rules will follow here in the US.
But is this a good thing?
Below are some PROS and CONS…
…and you can also make your thoughts known by going to www.PCPitstop.com and voting in their online poll about cell-phone use on airplanes:
We live in a wired world…
…and for business travelers, in particular, being able to make and receive calls during a flight will be enormously helpful.
This is particularly true for air travel that occurs during normal business hours.
As a fellow passenger…
…I cringe at the thought of having to sit next to you while you LOUDLY talk, talk, talk, talk on your cell phone all the way across the country about what you had for dinner last night, your kid’s soccer game last week, your Aunt Martha’s upcoming hip replacement surgery.
Since talking on cell phones on flights is probably going to become more common…
…this might be a good time to buy some Bose stock, since Bose makes those wildly popular noise-cancelling headphones that can drown out all noise around you.
Not all cell phones will work.
For US travelers in Europe, that means you will need a quad-band GSM phone…
…which leaves Verizon and Sprint customers out altogether, and also excludes owners of GSM phones that only have US bands built in.
And yes, iPhone users…
…your phones will work on European flights, too.
In Europe, the decision to offer cell phone service is now up to each airline:
• Air France is offering cell phone service on a trial basis for three months, and the decision to extend the service will be based on customer feedback
• Lufthansa says it will NOT offer cell phone service, since the airline did a survey in 2006 and found that their customers overwhelmingly preferred no cell phone use on flights
• Virgin Atlantic believes their customers WILL be supportive of online access to email and text messaging via their phones and Blackberries…but no voice calls on cell phones.
Hats off to the Europeans for giving each airline the right to choose which level of service to offer…
…or to offer no service at all.
This is a far better solution than to legally require ALL airlines to offer ALL available services…
…because this system allows airlines to cater to their customers as they best see fit, and it also gives consumers more options when making travel arrangements.
And now let’s hope that when it comes time for US airlines and regulators to make similar decisions about cell phones on planes…
…that they learn all the lessons they can from this European experiment.
Want to know more?
Listen to Gregg talk about this “SNAKES ON A PLANE” article at PCPitstop on radio stations nationwide, and make your thoughts known about cell phones on airplanes by taking the PCPitstop poll.