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How To Prevent Air Rage
You knew there were utter drooling morons running the FCC when they proposed letting passengers on airplanes talk on their cellphones in flight.

Now, when somebody's in a restaurant shouting on their cell, I do have the option of leaving if they simply won't stop. When I'm buckled into my seat for hours in a tin can hurtling thousands of miles next to some loud blatherer of the most inane details? Forget checking me for tweezers, hairspray and nail clippers. I'll kill the fucker with my bare hands.

Thankfully, the proposal, writes Paul Davidson in USA Today, "is about to be grounded." And not because the geniuses running the FCC (fire them, institutionalize them!) think it's a bad idea.

The FCC has long worried that wireless calls at 35,000 feet would clog hundreds of on-ground towers at once. That hurdle was expected to be remedied by a plan to send passengers' cellphone signals to a small airplane antenna, known as a pico cell. The antenna would then relay calls to earthbound towers over spectrum — earmarked just for air-to-ground use — won by AirCell in an FCC auction last year.

But tests conducted last year by CTIA, a wireless association, showed that in-flight calls still cause interference, especially if the pico cell couldn't recognize the passenger's cellphone signal, says CTIA Vice President Chris Guttman-McCabe.

AirCell CEO Jack Blumstein says the interference issues can be fixed. The larger obstacle, he says, is a lack of enthusiasm by both consumers and wireless industry players for in-flight cellphone use. In a USA TODAY survey in 2005, 68% of respondents favored keeping the ban. Consumers have voiced concerns that cellphone chatting by air-travel neighbors would be disruptive.

Duh. Want to ground the airline industry? Allow cellphone calls on planes. I'll crawl hundreds of miles on broken glass to avoid taking an airplane. Or, I'll use asshole canceling headphones -- perfect for avoiding hearing not only cellphone calls but any trivial announcements the captain might make.

Davidson continues:

Also, Cingular and Verizon also have told the FCC they don't what to share their frequencies in the skies with competitors. Such sharing of constantly-shifting frequencies likely would be necessary for cellphones to work, AirCell has said.

Major wireless providers and AirCell are more interested in providing less-obtrusive broadband services, Blumenstein says. A $10-per-trip AirCell service slated to roll out by early 2008 would let passengers use Wi-Fi-equipped laptops to e-mail, surf the Web and access corporate networks. JetBlue, meanwhile, has said it may introduce an in-flight e-mail and text-messaging service later this year.

"We've always been interested in broadband Internet and e-mail, not voice," Blumenstein says.

Finally, somebody with sense speaks. And, P.S., if you sit next to me and start Skype-calling somebody, expect the same courtesy I'd show some loud asswad on a cell.

via Pajamas Media

Posted by aalkon at March 24, 2007 7:24 PM


While I'd love being able to surf the net and read/send e-mail on long flights, I'm so with you on the cell phones. In fact, I wish there was a "quiet" section on the plane where people weren't allowed to talk at all. Nothing like listening to the asswad behind you spending 3 hours boring his seatmate by blathering on about his left-nostril inhaler collection or a bunch of drunk stockbrokers on their way to Vegas yelling at each other across 5 rows to make a person homicidal.

Posted by: deja pseu at March 24, 2007 10:00 AM


Have you ever noticed, after noticing this in others, THAT YOU YOURSELF DO IT TOO? Hate that.

Posted by: Crid at March 24, 2007 10:05 AM

I speak on my cell phone outside, if I must speak on it at all. It was actually a bit of a problem at first when people called me during Cathy's last days, because my message is meant to dissuade people from calling me on my cell at all: "This phone is rarely answer, and message are sometimes not returned for days or even a week." If I like you, we'll go out for a coffee and talk face to face. I'm usually reading something or thinking something interesting, and I like that space in my head instead of being constantly in conversation. At the moment, I'm reading an oldie I saw somebody gave Elmore as a gift: Richard Bissell's 7 1/2 Cents. And I just finished the advance reading edition of Elmore's next book, "Up In Honey's Room," which is hilarious and great, and takes place in Detroit during WWII, and centers on the exploits of a Nazi spy ring.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 24, 2007 10:32 AM

Personally, I hate cell phones. Years ago I had three cells phones at the same time: first was personal, second was business only and the third was for overseas traveling (which I had to do a lot back then). I looked like some bloody wannabe Star Trek dork with cell phones hanging all over me. Realizing that such a look is NOT cool and having since gotten to the point wherein I HATE cell phones, I usually keep my SINGLE cell phone off and (at most) make maybe one call a week. I am lucky if I even remember my cell phone number.

When people ask me for my cell number, I usually say "I do not give it out". People are flabbergasted. I work from 4:30 AM until 6:00 PM six days a week. If you cannot reach me during those hours (and you do not have my home number - which I also do not give out), then too bloody bad. I like to think that much of the work I do is important, but none of it is important enough to interfere with my life according to their whim...

Posted by: André-Tascha at March 24, 2007 12:40 PM

Yes to what Crid said.

Although cell phones are incredibly useful tools, people need to keep them in their proper places. Calls do not always have to be answered, no do they always have to be made right when the impulse strikes. A little courtesy in their use goes a long way.

Posted by: justin case at March 24, 2007 12:55 PM

I'd be psyched to have internet access planes, though.

Posted by: justin case at March 24, 2007 12:56 PM

Recently on the show "Mythbusters", they proved that cell phones don't affect ANYTHING in the cockpit or the tower at all. It's just to get you to use the $10.00 a minute airplane phone.

Posted by: Rob at March 24, 2007 8:11 PM

No, they're just guaranteed to cause insanity in other passengers.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 24, 2007 8:55 PM

I already carry earplugs when I fly...originally for shrieking children/babies, but now that cell phone yapping is returning those earplugs will serve dual duty, I guess.

I do not own a cell phone, nor do I see any reason to get one. So I guess I'm not the most sympathetic to cell phone users. But I'm hard-pressed to think of a reason that a call has to be made RIGHT NOW in the middle of a flight. (Or a movie, dinner, play, get the idea)

Posted by: Karen at March 25, 2007 11:00 AM

Hate to say it, but as long there is money to be made and people willing to pay for it, airplane cel phone use is an inevitability.

Posted by: snakeman99 at March 25, 2007 2:11 PM

A strange post and comments. You hate cell phones on planes because:
1. the technology ain't there and costs are off. None of your business. Buzz off. The market will take care of it.
2. using cell phones on a plane is mostly rude and you want someone to take care of it. Chicken. Gutless. If someone is that rude, punch their lights out - at least spiritually and physically if necessary. DO NOT DELEGATE THIS, ESPECIALLY TO THE STATE. THEY WILL EFF IT UP.

Yes I know all caps is shouting. I like shouting at gutless wonders.

Posted by: BlacquesJacquesShellacques at March 25, 2007 9:08 PM

Blacques Jacques, a teeny weenie problem called "assault charges."

I love the people who are so convinced they have the black and white solution -- mainly because they only skim the surface of the problem with their thoughts.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 26, 2007 12:17 AM

I would like to let everyone know that I had dinner with a girl once. And her boyfriend called her on her cell phone. Do you what she did? She picked it up, answered and very quietly said "I'm having dinner with someone, I cant talk". The she turned it off, and we had a great dinner together. I was......speechless. I had never experienced anything like this before, not even from my own mother.

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