The following editorial appeared Tuesday in the Kansas City Star:
How to put this? No. NO. And NOOOO.
Airlines, do not bite on the proposed new "freedom" to allow cellphone banter inflight. Please. For the flying public's sanity.
If you haven't had the displeasure of flying lately, here's the drill: Super-close quarters, at least for those of us flying coach. Little legroom. Rarely an empty seat. Not enough space for all the carry-on luggage now that skirting checked baggage fees is a competitive sport.
What no one needs in that claustrophobic environment is to be kept abreast of an unknown neighbor's potentially banal conversation.
OK, some conversations are urgent. Let people text to their fingers' delight. Just keep it private and keep it quiet. If the keystroke sound would be muted, all the better.
The easing of rules on electronics from gate to gate has its upsides. Entertainment for crying children is a win-win-win for child, parent and fellow passengers.
We, of all folks, certainly promote reading. Allowing electronic devices to operate during airplane confinement was a long-awaited advance.
But the Federal Communications Commission's idea to let airlines decide the rules of the air for talking on cellphones is a nonstarter for us, and for a majority of Americans surveyed.
And don't even consider creating sections of planes for yakkers, while other sections are for those who love their own earbuds, or even just a snooze.
It won't work. Sound carries. Remember "smoking" sections of old where smoke drifted over into the nonsmokers side? Maybe a sound-proofed telephone booth would do the trick for conversations that can't wait. But anything less wouldn't cut it.
We love our cellphones as much as the next person. Just enjoy with mouth shut while flying.