OpinionOpinion L.A.

Should the FCC allow cellphone use in flight? [Poll]

Federal Communications CommissionBarack ObamaSouthwest Airlines

Giving voice to the outrage felt by many, my colleague Paul Whitefield blasted the Federal Communications Commission for considering a new rule that would allow airline passengers to use their cellphones in flight. 

"Now I may have to hear the Valley girl on my left and the punk rocker on my right describe their BFF who’s so LOL and their bitchin' night in Vegas? I’m gonna have to hear Grandpa Earl regale his kid with stories of his prostate problems?" an exasperated Whitefield (although that may be redundant) asked.

To which I say, at least they wouldn't be spending the flight talking to you, Paul. There's no regulation  stopping chatterboxes from sharing such stories directly with the captive audience around them.

There are, however, social graces, which are still in evidence 50-plus years after Emily Post's death. As someone who takes the train daily, I have to say that the vast majority of riders in Los Angeles avoid intruding on the communal hush. Boorish behavior is the exception, not the rule. There's plenty of texting going on, but not much calling.

I don't know that the same would be true on airplanes, which attract an older demographic that's more likely to talk than text -- the opposite of what anyone under the age of 30 does. And I have to concede that planes are much more cramped and claustrophobia-inducing than trains, which magnifies the annoyances already on board (e.g., babies who cry, kids who can't stop playing with the table in the back of your seat, the aforementioned chatty seatmates).

Still, I think people in these situations regulate themselves. And if they don't, the market is likely to respond, with airlines offering phone-free zones or even phone-free planes. I could see Southwest Airlines running ads with a tweaked tagline, "Want to get away ... from that annoying seatmate on a cellphone?"

But what do you think? Should fliers be allowed to use their phones after takeoff? Cast your vote in our shamelessly unscientific poll, leave a comment or do both!

<a href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/7585742/">Should cellphone use be allowed on flights?</a>

ALSO:

LA Auto Show: 5 cars I'd sell my wife and kids for

Covered California to President Obama: Sorry, no

JFK Assassination: Where readers were when they heard the news

Follow Jon Healey on Twitter @jcahealey and Google+

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

.

Related Content
Federal Communications CommissionBarack ObamaSouthwest Airlines
  • #Roofbreakup: Are average people no longer entitled to privacy?
    #Roofbreakup: Are average people no longer entitled to privacy?

    One unlucky New York couple became the subject of comedian Kyle Ayers's tweets on Saturday night.

  • ACLU offers a smart safeguard for using surveillance technology
    ACLU offers a smart safeguard for using surveillance technology

    Advances in technology have given police agencies vastly expanded surveillance capabilities. Facial recognition software that can identify suspects, databases that can be tapped to track suspects' movements and locations, automatic license plate readers, social media monitoring, body cameras...

  • Budget-cutter Gov. Brown could do more to restore UC's health
    Budget-cutter Gov. Brown could do more to restore UC's health

    For all that he's a regent of the University of California, Gov. Jerry Brown is not an expert on academia or modern trends in higher education. What he brings to the deliberations over UC's budget isn't the perspective of a visionary seeking to maintain and build on the university's...

  • FCC is wisely taking its time on net neutrality action
    FCC is wisely taking its time on net neutrality action

    The Federal Communications Commission has decided to put off action on net neutrality until 2015, drawing protests from those lobbying for strict regulation of Internet service providers. It's tempting to argue that the delay gives the commission time to develop a consensus, but that's a fool's...

  • The complicated rules of citizenship
    The complicated rules of citizenship

    To Americans, the rules of citizenship can seem simple: You're a member of this nation either by birth or naturalization. But centuries of debate over how citizenship can be acquired and lost show that the concept is not simple at all. This is especially true of birthright citizenship, the rule...

  • Hunt in cosmos could tell us whether Earthlings are special
    Hunt in cosmos could tell us whether Earthlings are special

    Humans have had quite a ride in the 500 years since Copernicus. We've built and tested a rational vision of the universe in which our circumstances, and those of the Earth, are unexceptional and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. We are fleeting specks on a crumb of cosmic dust, among...

Comments
Loading