Thursday, December 21, 2006

"Whether people like it or not, in-flight cell phone use is going to become a reality."

Grace Wong of CNN:

A majority of business travelers (61 percent) oppose the idea of being able to use their phones in the sky, according to a global survey conducted by travel management company Carlson Wagonlit Travel early this year.

But if the technology is there, the service will eventually make its way to the skies, said Chris McGinnis, editor of Expedia Travel Trendwatch.

The article goes on to say that the service won't be available in the US for a long time, largely because it wouldn't help attract enough new customers to be worth the investment. That makes sense -- people taking short domestic flights wouldn't have the same need to contact people on the ground anyway -- but I predict that if enough other carriers allow it, US carriers will follow.

The 61% who oppose the idea probably have pictures in their heads of everyone yakking on their cell phones, like we see in public now. But at $1-$2 a minute, which is how much the service is expected to cost, I can't see people making long, personal calls while on flights. If that happened, it would start in first class, where people presumably have more money to spend on upgrades, right? Would first class passengers start coming back to coach for a break from the phone chatter? Pull the curtain please, flight attendant, the first class passengers are interrupting my sleep.

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