Monday, December 19, 2011

Will Talking Sections be the New Smoking Sections

On a recent flight the person behind me was jabbering incessantly on his mobile phone. While I don’t begrudge his right to speak on the phone. I was not happy he was right behind me … and right next to a few people too.

I get it --- WiFi in the Sky is inevitable

It's happening. It's happened. Fait accompli.

imageHowever, I think there need to be some rules to go along with WiFi in the sky. Perhaps a code of conduct. Perhaps a special helmet. See the picture of a stewardess / flight attendant uniform designed by Emilio Pucci circa 1960.

imageI’m not a complete Luddite. I want technology and access to my information Any Place, on Any Device and Any Time.

However, I will do what I can to be respectful of my fellow passengers.

Skype in the Sky is a FAIL

Again … I get it. Access to technology and WiFi in the sky will allow people to do things they never could at 30,000 feet. This is great. However, it doesn’t mean I want to be subjected to someone with a loud and boisterous voice … booming over the sounds of the jet engines themselves chatting about … well anything.

One of the Last Three Bastions of Privacy

Flying used to be one of the last three bastions where you could not be disturbed. Sure, you had the occasionally crying baby or the chatty seat mate (which you had (some) control over).

Will Talking Sections be the New Smoking Sections

imageI’m wondering if this will be the case. Will we see cordoned off areas like we see on the ground at airports for people that want to smoke? I’m guessing this will not happen for security purposes and also because it never happened for smokers. All that happened for Smoking Sections was that the air would still waft over all the other passengers. Second Hand Smoke, Anyone?

I can envision stewardesses (as they were called back then) standing and working in a haze of blue smoke.

Will flight attendants (as they are called today) and all the passengers be subjected to a haze of blue language and everything else that comes out of passengers voice boxes?


WiFi in the Sky is inevitable

It's happening. It's happened. Fait accompli.

However, this does not mean we need to sit by idly and listen to every utterance of our fellow passengers. The airlines are doing what the people want. They are adding WiFi in the Sky. Overall, this is OK. However, it’s going to be up to the airlines and perhaps the Wifi operators to put some controls on the use of said technology. Perhaps with a Passenger Bill of Rights. I think it will also be up to the passengers to use common sense. Just like when there was Smoking in the Sky … I’d like to think someone would refrain if asked.

Passenger Bill of Rights

I know a few airlines have posted something like this for ground times and how long the will wait before discharging passengers during inclement weather or other ground delays. However, I don’t know if they cover “technology usage" guidelines.”  For the record - I’m not a fan of more regulation. People should be able to “do the right thing” and know what’s right and wrong. However, occasionally people have lapses of judgment. A rule can help.

One thing I don’t want to see is that flight attendants are put in the position of arbitrator for offending passengers. They have enough to do.

What do you think?

  • Do you want WiFi in the Sky?
  • Is Skype in the Sky a good thing?
  • Will you be respectful of your seat mates?
  • How will you respond to offending passengers?
  • Will you support a Passenger Bill of Rights that includes using Skype in the Sky?

Drop a comment here or on the social media channels where you saw this post.

Note: I’m not picking on Skype. I just liked the alliteration of Skype in the Sky. I’m referring to VOIP, Video Conferencing and any other form of communication that can be enabled by having WiFi in the Sky. For the record … I’m a fan of Microsoft’s latest $8.5B acquisition … as I wrote about when it was announced.

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