Originally Published: December 18, 2004 7 a.m.
The Federal Communications Commission is entertaining the notion that passengers should be able to use their cell phones while flying on airplanes – one more place for cacophony.
On Wednesday, the federal agency approved technology giving airlines what could be a cheaper option to provide Internet connections. This would allow passengers to check their e-mail and surf the Internet as they flew to their destinations. As of now, passengers have to turn off this high-tech equipment before their flights take off.
When the FCC gave the go-ahead to explore in-flight Internet options, members informally discussed ending the ban on cell phone use on airplanes.
Admittedly, cell phones have become a way of life and many situations – especially emergencies – warrant their use.
But, it's the abuse and obsession with cell phones that annoy many, and it calls for a new kind of etiquette that no one has written for the greater public.
Why, for example, do people have to drive and talk on the phone, many wonder. Why would anyone even have the thing turned on in a restaurant or stand at a butcher counter chatting away in between ordering the meat cuts she wants?
The list of acts of just plain rudeness mounts and begs the question, why should anyone have to write a book of etiquette about cell phone use? Aren't good manners obvious – that there are certain times and places when the ring of a cell phone and ensuing conversation is simply inappropriate and thoughtless?
Now, apparently, airline passengers can look forward someday soon to sitting next to some thoughtless person intent upon yakking from airport to airport.
Please, FCC … spare us! Alexander Graham Bell didn't think of earplugs when he conceived his famous invention!