1:57 PM

Emirates Airlines
is now officially on
my “No Fly” list

CNN was reporting Thursday that as of January, 2007, Emirates Airlines plans to launch mobile phone usage in its planes, making it the first airline to allow passengers to make cell phone calls on its flights.

Oh great. So along with crying babies, tiny morsels of snack food, cranky passengers, high fares, people kicking the back of your seat, now airline travelers – at least on one carrier – will have to endure some dude sitting next to them barking loudly into his cell, telling his mistress lies about his girlfriend.

And while this is only being allowed on one foreign airline far, far away from U.S. airspace, the FAA has taken notice:

U.S. carriers don't allow in-flight cell phone calls, although the FAA is reviewing the safety concerns associated with mobile calls made in the air. The regulatory agency has asked a committee to conduct a study looking at whether portable electronic devices like cell phones interfere with aircraft navigation systems. Findings of the study are due at the end of December.
The use of cell phones anywhere can be annoying on so many levels. I still cringe when I’m sitting in a quiet restaurant and I hear someone’s phone blurting out a very poor quality Motley Crue, Jessica Simpson or Flintstones ringtone that they downloaded off the Internets. WTF, can't phones just RING? And as I walk through most any airport, I often wonder who really is schizophrenic and who's just using one of those whizbang Bluetooth earpieces – a device I am somehow managing to live without.
So now in addition to all that we have to endure to fly commercial, the day may be coming as soon as 2008 when we will be seated next to Chatty Cathy as she argues with her ‘tweenage daughter that YES, she does have to wear underwear, no matter what Britney Spears does. In such close confines as an aircraft cabin, do we really need to be that up close and personal with a couple of hundred strangers and their cell phone conversations?
Cell phones on airliners…really bad idea. This trend is just one more reason for travelers to loathe flying commercially. And if the full-fare U.S. carriers decide to allow this, I really hope the low cost airlines like Southwest, Jetblue and Airtran avoid the urge to follow suit, giving smart ticket buyers just one more reason to pay less to get more by avoiding the legacy carriers.

When airliner cell phone use comes to the U.S., the days of sleeping during a flight – which is next to impossible now – will be gone forever. If that happens, buy stock in Bose, ‘cause every frequent flyer will need a set of noise-canceling headphones, just to get some peace and quiet.

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