Yan's Corner - In Touch

Friday, April 08, 2005

Air rage

I was seated next to a young girl yesterday on a 30-minute flight from Sibu to Kuching. As soon as the plane touched the ground, she pulled out her handphone, switched it on and started sending SMS. I stared at her. I wanted to tell her that we can only switch on the handphone until we have reached the terminal building.

I was irritated.

I read from The Washington Post that the United States government is studying the prospect of lifting its ban on cell phone use during flights. Industry and government are pouring millions of dollars into research to determine whether wireless communications pose a threat to airline navigation systems.

If it proves that the usage of wireless communication is not posing a threat to airline navigation system, does it mean that I shall be listening to unwanted conversations in the half an hour flight to Kuching? Imagine on a flight from Sibu to Kuala Lumpur, just as the Captain says, “Cabin crew, please be seated for landing”, there are a hundred voices yelling at their handsets, “Darling, I am landing at KLIA”.

I know that will be the time when a new term will be used in the newspaper – the air rage.

Don’t worry yet. It was further reported that no change in the airline rules on cell phones is likely for at least a couple of years. The result on whether the phones interfere with navigational equipment is only due in December 2006.

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