Passengers Do Not Want In-Flight Mobile Calls


Survey suggests most people are against the introduction of mobile phones on planes

Research by the flight price comparison website Skyscanner has revealed that the overwhelming majority of passengers do not want the use of mobile phones permitted on planes.

86 percent of respondents thought that the drawbacks of listening to other people’s conversations outweigh the benefits of making a call at 30,000 feet.

Earlier this month, Virgin Atlantic became the first British airline to permit calls on some of its flights.

Flying high

According to Skyscanner, even if the service was available, only six percent of passengers would use it to make or take calls. 48 percent would opt for a text instead, while 35 percent would be content with browsing the Web. Email would be the preferred method of in-flight communication for 10 percent of respondents.

Only one percent of those polled said that making calls on the plane would justify an increase in the ticket price.

“In a world where we are now almost always “on call”, it seems people do not want to say goodbye to their last sanctuary of non-connectivity. Flying allows us to switch off for a few hours, both from our own calls, and other people’s,” commented Sam Baldwin, Skyscanner travel editor.

“However, Virgin’s move into onboard mobile is the beginning of the end of the no-phone zone. I think it’s inevitable that within a few years, making mobile calls at 30,000 feet will be commonplace on all airlines,” he added.

Since the middle of May, some passengers flying on Virgin Atlantic route from London to New York have been able to use their phones while in the air. The service costs £1 per minute for calls and 20p per text, and is currently offered to customers on O2 or Vodafone networks. Mobile Internet will also be available, at a yet undisclosed price. Calls can only be made by a maximum of 10 people at a time, making sure that the cabin will not sound like a busy market.

Virgin Atlantic plans to have 20 aircraft ready for mobile phones by end of year.

“In such a confined space as an aircraft it could be very annoying. While we are not totally against it in principle, during certain parts of the trip, such as overnight when people want to rest, it should definitely not be allowed,” Val Weedon, a spokesman for the anti-noise action group Noisedirect told the Daily Mail .

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