As someone who is on a plane at least two days a week, I can repeat the safety briefing message verbatim. One of the things that you hear during that is “turn off your cell phones.” Now, I’m almost positive that a cell phone left on in someone’s bag isn’t going to take down a plane, so why do we have to turn them off? Well, besides saying “the government makes us” there is the possibility they say of the signals interfering with the plane’s navigation system. But I think the most important reason is, they don’t want people talking on cell phones on a plane!
Could you imagine if cellular signals can be directed skyward and you’re on a flight 36,000 feet in the air with a plane load of people on their cell phones? I’d take a plane full of female cats in heat over that. I just could not image such a scene, so I hope it never comes down to being able to use a cell phone on a plane.
Now, Internet access is another story. For those who are connected to the hip to email like I am, having the ability to have my iPhone deliver my messages to me in the air would be complete nirvana. Being stuck in the tube for several hours without email can sometime be difficult but more and more airlines are warming up to the idea of making it possible.
JetBlue has one plane “BetaBlue” outfitted with Internet access but limits it just to Yahoo! Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Mail and Blackberry‘s email service. Southwest has begun testing in-flight Internet access as well as some other airlines. Continental says it’s “coming soon.” Whether it will be full Internet or a limited service like JetBlue is yet to be seen, but I can imagine there will be some, um, problems. (Think late night flight, pervert in the middle seat feeling a bit randy, popping up a porn site on his laptop.
Anyway, I welcome the day when I’ll be able to send email, surf the web and avoid people who send me instant messages while flying several miles up in the sky.
Below are two photos of “BetaBlue” I took a few weeks ago. The plane was spotted at the Palm Beach International Airport.