Friday, January 11, 2008

on connected flights

this article on msnbc tells us it won't be long before we can log on to the internet or send sms during flights. while being connected is a good thing, i can't help but feel that it's kind of encroaching on one of the only times that i can shut off my phone and feel detached from the world.

as harriet baskas put it in the article:
However, those who have come to view an airplane trip as a rare chance to “close the door” and be electronically unavailable for a few hours may be understandably worried. If you can send and receive text messages and e-mails during a flight, then bosses, clients, friends and family members might expect you to use your flying time to stay in touch with them instead of sleeping, reading, dreaming, doing crossword puzzles, chatting up an interesting seatmate or figuring out how to pad your expense reports.
and that's what worries me, really. that i now have the option of staying connected all the time when i travel. while of course, having the internet and cellular networks available in-flight are definite advantages, it fills me with dread when i think of how noisy the flights are going to be now that people can call, watch videos, and surf for porn while in the air.

i've always been one to "chat up an interesting seatmate," making use of my disconnected time on the flight to meet someone new. but now that i have competition on people's attention, i may have to say goodbye to that. and i revel in the absence of cellphone signals, forcing me to while away the time by writing or reading on the plane.

the good news is, this technology probably won't reach us that fast, and we can still enjoy "disconnected" flights on local airlines. our days of happy, detached traveling are numbered, but i'm going to take full advantage of them.

how about you? how do you feel about connected flights?

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