We all know that it’s forbidden to use a mobile phone on the plane, especially during take-off and landing. However, a month ago, the airline company Emirates authorised its passengers for the first time to make calls aboard a commercial flight. Other companies, such as Air France in Europe and Qantas in Australia, have also been testing the use of mobile phones in the air.
But what’s happened to the risk of radio interference? The Transportation Security Agency still maintains that, “the use of these devices will one day cause an accident by interfering with cockpit devices." Hardly reassuring.
And apart from the radio frequency issues, the big issue is how fellow passengers will react to the use of mobile phones. There’s enough noise on a plane already without the added cacophony of multiple people on mobile phones speaking too loudly to be heard. Air rage anyone?
A recent study on the subject in the US is clear – two thirds of Americans are for a simple ban on telephone communications in the air. This conclusion has already been adopted by Lufthansa, which isn’t proposing mobile telephony use on its planes.
I'm not actually in favour of phones on planes myself; I find it annoying enough when people talk on their phones in restaurants! But maybe we could have a dedicated section for it on planes (similar to smoking sections in the past) with a soundproof system? Or just allow people to text?
One thing is for sure, the question around the use of mobile phones on planes is going to stir up more hot air than is perhaps healthy in such a confined space!