Anyone who is flying over the Thanksgiving weekend is aware that the elegant charm of air travel took wing a long time ago. Crying babies, cramped seats, armrests commandeered by overbearing passengers, draconian baggage fees and airline food at a premium price that barely rivals a military meal-ready-to-eat have turned air travel into a marathon test of forbearance. Now the Federal Communications Commission has proposed allowing passengers to use cellphones during flights. It's bad enough to be trapped in a cacophonous chattering tube at 30,000 feet. For the sake of preserving some small semblance of passenger sanity, authorities should drop this cellphone assault on the traveling public.
The proposed FCC rule would permit the use of cellphones after a flight reaches 10,000 feet. It comes in the wake of a recent Federal Aviation Administration decision to permit wider use of in-flight electronic devices such as iPads. Passengers are divided on the expanded use of gadgetry. An FAA survey found 51 percent of travelers oppose in-flight phone calls, while 47 percent approve. Cell-addicted teenagers, perhaps? At least three responsible carriers, Southwest, Delta and Virgin America, have said they will still likely ban in-flight cellphone use.
Because in-flight cellphone use is technically possible doesn't make it right. The FCC should abandon its in-flight cellphone rule — a bad idea whose time may have come but needs to fly far away.