The day is fast approaching when a crying baby sitting near you during a flight will be the least of your irritations. The European Commission has issued new rules that will allow cell phone use on airlines flying over Europe.
There's talk of setting up smoke-zone-like areas on the planes where passengers will be restricted to make and receive their calls, but that's all just a bunch of PR to mitigate the backlash from folks who don't want phones allowed on planes. And, apparently, there are a lot of these people. A survey by the International Airline Passengers Assn. found that the overwhelming majority of respondents stated that phone use on planes would be "a source of great irritation."
Pilots also would have the discretion to flip a switch that would limit access only to email, not voice, if the chatter got too loud. Fat chance of that happening -- terrorists storming the cockpit would be the least of their worries if they did that mid-flight.
While I'm one who checks his Blackberry at the last possible chance before long flights, I also enjoy watching travelers turn theirs off. But you watch, airlines will take advantage of this. They'll offer seats reserved in "non-phone sections" at higher prices.