Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Please no phone calls on planes (pleeeaaase)

I was about to pack to fly to Europe for Mobile World Congress (not a chance, I am going to pack an hour before check-in as usual ;-) and I remembered an article a saw a few days ago. The news was that British Airways (my preferred carrier to Europe) was planning to introduce mobile phone data-only usage on planes.

The idea is simple: allowing Crackberry addicts to check emails and surf the Internet (or use Google Maps to see where they are on the planet ;-) while still forbidding voice calls.

Few comments:
  1. I like the idea and I am not bothered by it. Actually, I would love it, as I like wi-fi in the air.
  2. What the heck happened to that "cell phones cannot be used while flying because the plane might crash" statement I heard for years on planes??
  3. What happens when people figure out they can use VOIP and chat away with friends over data connections?
Item #3 is worrying. I have to admit that the first thing I did when I found wi-fi on a Lufthansa flight years ago (before they disconnected it) was using Skype to call my wife. The usual "guess where I am calling you from?". Obnoxious. I whispered and I guess most of the people around me thought I was just insane, talking to my computer. They weren't that off.

I have no other place than a plane, where nobody bothers me. Where I can work on my laptop and clean up my Inbox (it happens only during long flights), or even read a book and watch a movie. I cannot stand the idea of cell phones ringing, with the annoying ringtones most people think are cool (I don't, phone vibration should be mandatory for people with bad taste in music).

Please BA, go for data-only services, but forbid voice. As a punishment for breaking the rule, may I suggest moving the violator between two toddlers for the rest of the flight?

Since you are there, can you fix the annoying issue I have with my MacBook Air when I plug the power in, and the touchpad goes berserk? I swear I am not going to talk on a phone ever again.