TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: - Airborne Cell-Phone Ban Likely to Remain For Now

Re: - Airborne Cell-Phone Ban Likely to Remain For Now

Gene S. Berkowitz (
Sat, 18 Dec 2004 20:12:12 -0500

In article <>,

> In article <>, Clark W. Griswold,
> Jr. <> wrote:

>> AES/newspost <> wrote:

>>> I've read news stories in the past about cellphone jammers or blockers
>>> for use in restaurants, theaters, library reading rooms, etc.

>>> Anyone have any leads on portable, battery-powered versions?

>> I share your implied problem with inconsiderate cell users. However,
>> based on your address, you should know that these devices are illegal
>> in the US. While the odds of getting caught using them are quite
>> small, especially if used in a mobile situation (ie, in your pocket),
>> people have been prosecuted in other countries (a dealer in Scotland &
>> a church in Mexico).

> You correctly sensed the implied (and in fact primary) message behind
> my post: I have very little interest in sitting through a five-hour
> transcontinental flight, trying to read, sleep, or just relax, while
> multiple cellphone users all around me do deals in penetrating voices
> all through the flight. I suspect others will feel similarly, and
> wonder how the airlines will deal with the issue.

> Assuming that the airlines probably won't deal straightforwardly with
> the problem, or will be unwilling to forgo the add'l revenue in flight
> cellphone service can offer, I've tried to think of realistic
> solutions and/or counter-measures, but haven't come up with much that
> seems promising in the list:

> * Earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones for all the other passengers
> [uncomfortable, and more seriously don't really work all that well]

> * Airlines set up a couple of enclosed "phone booths" somewhere on the
> plane, for those who have to play this game [unlikely, because of
> revenue seating lost, but maybe.]

> * Cellphoners required to use some kind of silent throat mikes and
> whisper [technically feasible?]

> * Limiting cell phoning to first class? [Maybe some would pay extra
> for the opportunity, driving up FC sales -- but other FC opponents
> might squawk equally loudly.]

> * Jammers, as per initial query [which I suspect will happen, if the
> problem gets bad enough.]

> * And of course finally the "Charles Bronson response": Bring a large
> battery-powered "boombox" tape deck with a really annoying musical
> selection as your carryon, and if the cellphone noise pollution around
> you gets too annoying just turn it on LOUD and decline to turn it off,
> pointing out politely to neighbors and cabin crew that if the cellphone
> guys can noise pollute, so can you. [Unfortunately I have more in
> common with Walter Mitty than Charles Bronson, so it's not likely to
> happen].

> Inflight cellphone use does seem to me one of those problems where some
> number of passengers will certainly be rude and inconsiderate enough to
> make it a problem; the airlines will be craven and greedy enough not to
> deal with it; and air travel will deteriorate even more than it already
> has [Dulles main terminal at 4:30 pm yesterday afternoon was a sight not
> to be believed].

Wait until the first corporate weenie causes a stock stampede by
incidently sharing confidential corporate information with the 10-15
people within earshot. The opportunities for easy airborne corporate
espionage are great too, especially when laptops get plugged into the

This would all be moot if seatback calls were even remotely reasonable
in price.


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