Friday, January 4, 2008

Air Phones

I finally came across a December 15, 2007, article in The Economist entitled "Your call," which is about plans by some airlines to experiment with allowing mobile phone usage on selected flights. Some initial innovations in in-flight texting and data transfer surely fall within the realm of appropriate use, but plans for voice-chat give me serious pause:
"Air France's test will begin on an Airbus A318 in the next few weeks . . . At first it will allow only mobile-data access and text messaging, but after three months the voice service will be switched on, too" (p. 76).
Other airlines are watching and some will surely follow suit. I am fearful that the opportunities to cash in yet another revenue stream will eventually trump any concerns about niceties. I can only imagine those inane one-sided dialogues: "Yeah, I'm in the air right now. Flying sucks; it's so boring. Thank goodness I have a phone!" Yep, that's another reason why I prefer traveling by highway.

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