In-flight mobile usage
After I read this article at The Register, I thought I might as well contribute my $0.02 to the issue - well, actually, the following excerpt sums it up pretty well:
"While the majority of respondents would not approve of passengers making voice calls during flights, some 64 percent of respondents indicated their approval of using mobile phones for data services such as SMS. Of the 11 specified wireless activities, in-flight messaging emerged as the most popular choice among respondents."I think this is how you could keep everyone happy - unlimited SMSing (which will suit the teenagers well, and is still a perfectly acceptable method of communciation), but if you want to make a voice call, you must retreat to a small soundproof booth at the back by the toilets, or something like that. Another silent way to use the mobile is data services - perhaps a traveller could be checking information about their destination, planning their itinerary and booking their hotels etc, all while still sitting on the plane?
But there's definitely no way you could make the allowance of in-flight mobile phone calls workable - how annoying would it be to constantly hear phones ringing when you're trying to get to sleep, or your neighbour chatting loudly away for half an hour? I guess people have always talked to each other on the plane anyway, but when you're on a call you tend to be less aware of your physical surroundings and forget to lower your voice, so... The airlines will have to be careful about this, otherwise it could result in a disastrously horrible experience for the majority of the passengers...