Image credit: Bob Riha Jr/Getty Images
Would travelers be willing to pay extra to sit in a "Quiet Zone" if cell phone calls are permitted in flight?
According to a new poll by Airfarewatchdog.com, which tracks fares and fees, many would.
the 3,400 travelers asked if they'd pay a fee for a seat in a quiet
zone, 53% said yes because they wouldn't "want to hear non-stop chatter"
during a flight. The rest said they wouldn't pay a fee and "just grin
and bear it."
The Federal Communications Commission is collecting
public comment on lifting a 1991 ban on in-flight cell phone use, which
had been adopted to prevent interference with ground-based
communications. There is no evidence now that cell phones harm the
aircraft's navigation systems.
have been introducing new fees for everything from boarding early to
choosing seats in recent years. They generate millions of dollars in
fees each year.
George Hobica, president of Airfarewatchdog.com, said quiet zones could be another potential money-maker for them.
he also says that the proposal has so many opponents that airlines may
have to ban in-flight cell phone calling even if it comes legal.
think that so few people think that in-flight mobile phoning is a good
idea that airlines will prohibit or otherwise make in-flight phone calls
unviable," he says.
Last month, Delta CEO Richard Anderson wrote in a memo to employees that his airline would not allow in-flight voice calls even if regulators permit it.
points out that there was a time when airlines did allow phone calls on
board. GTE Airfones were available on many flights.
"However, the calls were so expensive that no one used the devices," he says.
Readers, would you pay a fee to sit in a quiet zone?
Nancy Trejos, USA TODAY