Monday, December 20, 2004

Just Plane Annoying

You may have seen last week that the FCC voted to allow wireless access on planes. They also will begin taking public comment early next year on the possibility of allowing cell-phone use during flight, though no action will be taken until the conclusion of an FAA study as to whether the phones' use would interfere with the navigational operations of the plane.

Personally, I think that the cell-phone thing would be a horrible idea. Certainly they can--and should--be used in emergency situations like the United Flight 93 passengers did on 9/11, but as far as normal, everyday usage? I think not.

My opinions on the subject were reinforced on last week's flights to and from New Orleans for the game. On the way there, we were surrounded by businessmen. They talked a lot, but at least not very loudly. I think I heard the phrase "we need to write 'em a contract" about 27 times during the course of the 45-minute flight.

On the way back, I had the middle seat, and to my left was a rather annoying woman who seemed to be complaining about everything in one of those grating voices. When the plane stopped at the gate, she immediately busted out her cell phone and started talking very, very loudly all the way past the gate (we managed to lose her by walking quickly through the terminal). If I would have had to listen to that screechy voice at top volume for the entire flight, I might have come unglued.

I think this is the biggest downside of allowing general use: someone's gonna be stuck between two people talking too loudly, too long, or about things that shouldn't be broadcast to the general public, like, say, Aunt Gertie's gallbladder operation. Flight attendants have enough trouble dealing with unruly drunk passengers at times; why burden them even more with the inevitable confrontations that will arise from passengers with bad cell phone etiquette?

So what does everyone else think of this--good idea? Bad idea? Talk to me in the comments.

Blowing out the candles: Happy birthday Dad! Though there may be a downside of having a birthday so close to Christmas, as I mentioned last year, it does mean that I always get to see him within three or four days of the actual event (seeing Mom on her mid-April birthday is a potshot, but one of their visits actually hit right on the day this past spring). Once again, Dad and I will get to collaborate on something musical on Christmas Eve, as I'll be accompanying his choir on the soprano for two services (and play a prelude, if I can find one).

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