Travelers Fear Cell Phone "Air Rage"

A recent International Airline Passengers Association' survey of frequent business travelers has revealed fears that the impending introduction of cell phones onboard commercial jets will be disruptive, anti-social and even dangerous, possibly even sparking air rage between passengers. Some airlines are testing new technology that will enable passengers to use their own cell phones later this year, and a third of all carriers are expected to allow onboard use of personal cell phones by 2007, according to IAPA. Only half of the IAPA survey respondents said they would find it useful to make calls during flight, and many were violently opposed to the use of personal cell phones onboard. Most members expressed concerns that they would not be able to escape from the sound of phones ringing and other passengers chatting. In fact, 45% of respondents ranked listening to someone's telephone calls as the second most irritating thing they could imagine on an aircraft, worse than listening to a child crying or a passenger snoring. The only thing they considered more annoying was someone kicking the back of their seat. A handful even claimed they would refuse to travel on aircraft that offered it. Nancy McKinley, IAPA manager, government and industry affairs, said the research clearly shows opposition from members to in-flight cell phone use. She urged airlines who do allow cell phone use to create "quiet zones" or "phone free" times to lessen the disruptive impact.

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