Nice rant in today’s New York Times…
There is a decision pending within the bowels of the federal government that may be the single most incomprehensibly wrongheaded decision of the century.
It’s small when compared with Iraq, but it’s still maddening. It involves allowing passengers to talk on their cellphones while they are in flight. Now, as everyone who has the misfortune to fly commercially knows, air travel today is mind-bogglingly uncomfortable. The seats are small. The flights are nearly always full to overflowing. The food is unspeakable. The air is fetid and filled with germs. Many a time I board an airliner hale and hearty, only to emerge with a raging pneumonia.
But there is one saving grace. Unless you are seated behind or next to really rude people — which happens surprisingly rarely — air travel is fairly quiet. Yes, the flight attendants stand around and talk. Yes, before the plane takes off people scream into their cellphones, but along about three hours into the flight from, say, Kennedy to LAX, it’s pretty peaceful.
That’s solely because passengers can’t use cellphones aloft. That prohibition was one of the great decisions ever. Now, in a fit of idiocy, some airlines are suggesting that they be allowed to sell the use of cellphones in the air at nominal prices. This will mean yelling and screaming and boasting and complaining for almost all the time you’re sealed in that sardine can. The government is apparently planning to allow this anarchy.