As the prospect of in-flight cell phone usage looms, the debate goes on regarding the pros and cons of this decision. Many frequent flyers are holding their breath as the challenge of air travel may soon get even more invasive. As it is, we are allotted a small amount of space to sit, store our luggage and use the restroom. Enter in-flight approved technology, and our privacy and personal boundaries may soon become a thing of the past.
Follow these airplane etiquette tips on your next flight, and the flight of the future:
Wait until you're seated to make that last phone call. If you are on the phone while you inch down the aisle toward your seat, you are guaranteed to hold up the flow of traffic, not to mention hit somebody in the head or shoulders with your carry-on. Either finish up your call before boarding, or make that last call once you are seated. The same suggestion applies to exiting the plane -- don't try to talk on the phone with one hand while attempting to retrieve your carry-on luggage from the overhead bin.
Keep your voice down. Regardless of how and when we make phone calls on a flight, the rule of cell phone courtesy is a 10-foot buffer between yourself and others. No matter how the rules change, monitor your volume. Also, refrain from taking your cell phone, or carrying on lengthy phone calls, in the lavatory.
Respect the flight attendant's instructions. When flight attendants ask passengers to turn off their technology, stow their carry-on bags and put their seat-backs and tray tables into the upright and locked position, do it right away. In-flight rules are enforced for your safety, and the safety of others.
Privacy is only an illusion. Whether you're working or watching a movie, remember others will see your screen, and may be glancing your way from time to time. Avoid working on anything confidential. As for movies, remember that your seat mates and people behind you have a clear view of what you are watching -- choose your in-flight entertainment accordingly.
Be mindful of your neighbor. This is true whether you're working on your laptop or reclining your seat back so far that others have no hope of opening their own device. If someone leans back into your personal space, you can politely ask them if they would mind leaning up a bit to give you room to use your tray table, or move your knees.
Protect yourself and others from excess noise. Invest in a pair of high-quality noise-canceling headphones to limit in-flight noise and chatter. If you are listening to music, monitor the volume; it's safe to assume that fellow passengers are not interested in your music playlist.
Whatever the future may hold for in-flight cell phone use, keep in mind that we will still be in small, cramped spaces with others all around us. Do your part to keep the skies friendly and your neighbor smiling.
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