What we’re reading: DOT plans rule to ban cellphone use inflight, comedy rules, Airbus 350XWB

Airbus 350XWB

DOT Firming Up Rules To Ban In-Flight Cellphone Use

In a surprise announcement, or slip-up, during a speech to the Aero Club in Washington, DC, the aviation community learned that DOT is contemplating a rulemaking to ban cellphone use in flight. This new rule won’t come into effect until sometime next year, but already the debate is beginning. Who should control cell phone usage on planes? Airlines or DOT?

Personally, I vote airlines. Even though most of the passengers who have expressed concern about cellphone use in the air seem to fall into the camp of, “Don’t use cellphones when seated next to me” when given the choice, they will probably make a call if necessary. Plus, cellphones might become a competitive issue. On DCA to BOS shuttles, JetBlue might allow cell phones while AA may not — I’ll bet Jet Blue gets more business from businessmen who are trying to use every minute to close deals. In addition, I’ll bet that AA will follow Jet Blue’s example to keep from losing business travelers.

…many people are concerned about what could happen if suddenly everyone on a plane could chat away on their phones inflight. There are issues of security and safety — will passengers listen to announcements? Will they heed the directions from crew members? Will people use their phones to call in every gripe about every bump during the flight?

Many passengers don’t like the idea of a plane’s cabin — rarely the most relaxed place — being filled with one-way chatter from people who lack volume control when talking on the phone. There are already enough in-air confrontations between angry passengers; no need to encourage more of them.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the DOT is looking to go public with its proposed rule changes in December.

Comedy is the most popular genre in the in-flight entertainment business

Ever wonder what kind of inflight entertainment is king? It’s comedy. Even with the proliferation of entertainment choices, it seems that people still like to laugh.

“Comedy is still king,” said Al St. Germain, vice president of Spafax USA. “Hollywood’s new releases are the core of our offer, but offering these new releases really depends on the brand of the airline.”

He said international movies are getting more popular, with a particular demand for Chinese content from clients such as Asiana Airlines. On the TV front, passengers want to keep up with shows they watch on streaming services at home.

The data also show the Disney, Discovery and CNBC channels are among the most popular, along with half-hour recent comedies being the most watched shows in all cabins.

Airbus A350XWB: On board the world’s newest passenger jet

CNN takes us on a tour of the new Airbus designed to compete with Boeing’s 787 and the revamped 777s. There is more than meets the eye in terms of improvements.

At first glance, the gleaming cabin looks simply like a lovely new plane, but dotted throughout are features that Airbus hopes will set it apart from the competition and impress passengers and airlines alike.

“With fiber optics we’ve integrated the cables for the in-flight entertainment system, moved the control boxes to a panel under the seat and flooring and been able to make the floor flat,” says Roland Naudy, the Aircraft Interiors Marketing Manager.
That could be sweet relief for those who found themselves with an in-flight entertainment box stopping them from stretching out their feet.

  • pauletteb

    Articles like this show why the DOT needs to be in charge here. Add cell phone use to the already rude behavior of many airline passengers would be a nightmare. Europeans might be able to handle cell phone use on planes without confrontation, but you know that would NOT be the case in the US. And your remark that most passengers who don’t want the person sitting next to them to be talking on a cell phone but would use one themselves “if necessary,” doesn’t fly. “If necessary” means different things to different people, and the same idiots who think it’s “necessary” to relate every bit of personal information while in the airport won’t stop when airborne. This is one case where I think the airlines will be thankful for government intervention. So will I!