Tim Foolery

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United’s Cell Phone Policy

I’m a United guy. Are they perfect, no, not in the slightest. They are my hometown airline and with them (and their partners) I can get almost anywhere in the world in just two flights. They have some screwy policies that if you aren’t well versed in, you could find yourself spending more money than expected (checked bags and now Basic Economy, specifically). But in general, if you know the system, you can work it to your advantage.

Live and Let’s Fly (love the blog name, btw) posted recently about United’s plan to continue to prohibit voice calls (cell or Internet like Skype, Hangouts, etc) from their planes, even if the US government changes their tune and allows passengers to make calls. Matthew thinks this is a bad idea and lays out several reasons behind his beliefs. Personally, the idea of allowing people to make cell phone calls while on board fills me with angst.

I live in Chicago and rely on public (and quasi public) transportation exclusively. I haven’t owned a car since 2001 and have no need for a car. When on the train or the bus we are bombarded by the loud talkers-the people who think they must yell into their phones so the person they are calling can hear them. My husband and my mother both do this-they are smart and worldly people. It is an affliction I’ve tried to cure them of for years, to no avail.

Image courtesy of ATWorldOnline

Image courtesy of ATWorldOnline

Personally, I enjoy the relative peace found on board an aircraft. I can work, read, sleep or just relax. Allowing phone calls has the very high likelihood of dramatically disrupting that peace.

Kudos to you United for making, to me what seems, the most logical decision. Do you REALLY need to take a call on your trip?

What do you think? Am I out of touch with modern times? Am I just a grumpy old man shaking my cane at the kids whose ball flew into my front yard?  If airlines do allow calls, do you think there should be a phone and non-home section, like the old days of smoking and non-smoking?  Are you just waiting for the day that you’ll be able to call your office while you fly the 60 minutes from Chicago to Toronto, or Nashville?


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