Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cell phone use coming to a plane near you

In a society where it’s acceptable for law school students to instant message each other in class and employers to conduct online interviews, are we even making a connection anymore? Is technology, created to enhance communication, further separating us from the outside world?

Emirates airlines announced future plans to allow cell phone use in-flight by implementing new GSM technology, deemed airplane safe. Instead of using designated airline phones, which cost $5.00 per minute, personal cell phones will cost $3.50 per minute. But is it even a question of money, or merely our obsession to stay constantly connected to technology?

In a CNN video segment with Robert Quest, one passenger in opposition to the Airline’s plans said that he gets some of his best work done while traveling by plane. He predicts that people yapping away on their cell phones will be annoying and disruptive. Reports indicate that 50 percent of other airlines will follow suit within the next two years.

If cell phone use is permitted while 35,000 feet in the air, there will be virtually no cell phone free zone on Earth. So, the next time I fly coach in a cramped seat, squished between two other passengers, I will imagine my mother quibbling with another lawyer on her cell phone in a high pitched voice atop a crying baby, tableware hitting food trays, and my friendly neighbor blowing his nose while the other files her nails. Sounds like I have a lot to look forward to!

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