Talking tech since 2003

Today, Delta Airlines CEO Richard Anderson sent out a memo to all of the company’s employees explaining that no matter what the FCC rules, there won’t be any cell phone conversations going on at 30,000 feet. This confirms earlier reports that Delta would likely not allow cell phone conversations in its planes during flights, while today’s news comes by way of a post on TechCrunch, which offers up the memo in its entirety.

What’s important to note about the memo is that the edict comes from surveys conducted with customers and employees, who all seem to prefer the relative silence the lack of cell phone conversations provides in the air.

“Our customer research and direct feedback tell us that our frequent flyers believe voice calls in the cabin would be a disruption to the travel experience,” reads the memo. “In fact, a clear majority of customers who responded to a 2012 survey said they felt the ability to make voice calls onboard would detract from – not enhance – their experience. Delta employees, particularly our in-flight crews, have told us definitively that they are not in favor of voice calls onboard.”

That said, if the FCC does recommend that it’s okay to use cell phones during flight in general, Delta would lift its ban on texting and data-usage. And, frankly, if you can text and email people while you’re flying through the sky, you can probably get away with not actually talking with them for just a few hours.

While our own Shawn Farner explained in the above-linked post that he thinks we should self-police cell phone use, I have to respectfully disagree with him. I commuted to and from Manhattan from Upstate New York for about a year, with a two-hour bus ride each way, and I was often subjected to some of the loudest and most obnoxious cell phone conversations ever—and that was all before cell phones became as ubiquitous and omnipresent as they are now.

Air travel is already one of the most cumbersome ways to travel, what with cramped seats, over-zealous TSA agents, draconian boarding procedures, and long delays for both taking off and deplaning. Adding in the ability for every jerk with a phone to start yapping away at all times during the flight would make it unbearable.

Thank you, Delta. Now just make your seats a little bigger and you’ll have a fan for life.


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