Integrity Matters
June 20, 2007

Inconsiderate phone users force rules on us

Question: (E-287)
Because of obnoxious cell-phone users in public places, including on airlines, it looks like personal cell-phone use during air travel will continue to be banned.  Is that wise?

Cell-phone abuse is commonplace.  When insensitive individuals force restaurants, private clubs, religious institutions and hospitals to issue rules for appropriate adult behavior in using a wireless phone, then too many people are ignoring common social courtesy. How disappointing that written rules must be formalized and enforced to encourage respect and decency.
Continued airline cell-phone bans will prevent chaos in the air. Individual traveler safety is at risk.  There was a time when “clod” referred those who lacked sensitivity and behaved inappropriately.  The dictionary defines clod as “dull, ignorant, stupid; a blockhead” – and from my observations, perhaps one additional adjective would bring the point home: arrogant.  A clod with a cell-phone makes life miserable for those nearby, anytime and anyplace.  In the confining space of an airline, can you imagine how many tempers would flare with insensitive individuals using cell-phones? 

The Federal Communications Commission has listened to the public and intends to keep the rule in place, requiring cell-phones to remain turned-off during airline flights. Invading the private space of others is another form of bullying.  Who wants to listen to the details of a total stranger’s business transactions, love life, car problems, gambling-activities, religious and cultural prejudices or how deadbeats are “hosing” their companies by taking an inappropriate number of sick days? 

After all, who really wants to overhear the “private and personal” information of others, whether friends or strangers, blasted at them when the goal of travel is simply reaching a destination as safely and calmly as possible?

The FCC has been considering lifting its ban on cell-phones since 2004.  But given the added concerns from the Federal Aviation Administration regarding potential interference with navigational and communications systems, it could be a long time before cell phones get green light for air travelers. 

This is great news for everyone who values peaceful travel time to read, think and write – or simply relax.

Thoughtful cell-phone users:

  • Ask permission before taking or making a call.
  • Speak softly, finding a place away from others to converse.
  • Keep calls brief, except for emergencies.

Integrity in cell-phone use, in the air or on the ground, begins and ends with graciousness, demonstrating respect and exercising self-discipline.

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