Stephanie Spitler
November 26, 2013 6:00 pm

I heard some news this week that made my heart jump into my throat, my stomach churn, and my hands shake. I broke out into a cold sweat and tossed and turned while nightmare scenarios played out in my head. What could possibly have caused this kind of reaction, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

The FCC is considering a proposal that would allow airline passengers to use their cell phones to make calls while in the air. Now, I’m sure phone-addicted people across the country are rejoicing at this news, but I think we should all pause and reflect on what this would really mean, for all of us.

Business people and wheelers-and-dealers maintain that they must always be connected. You know, for work. Well, how much business will you be able to conduct when the woman sitting next to you is chatting to her best friend for the entire four-hour flight? Good luck explaining why your call is more important.

And to the bored woman who will inevitably be sitting beside me on some future flight, do you really need to talk for four straight hours about your kids, your husband, your job, your crappy manicure, whatever? I know you can, but should you?

An airplane is the last bastion of silence. Sure, passengers talk to each other now, but the idea of a plane full of folks chatting away on their phones compared to a few (mostly whispered) conversations is like the difference between a symphony and a library.

Believe me, I know how much people love their phones, and how invested they are in their own self-importance. A couple of weeks ago I was on a flight (we had just boarded and were pulling away from the gate) with a guy who was talking on his phone at the same time the poor flight attendant was making her announcement about how the use of cellular telephones is not permitted. Now, maybe he was a brain surgeon on an important call (I highly doubt it), but all he was saying on that particular call was “I’m sitting in the back of a plane right now.” Yeah, dude, you are. And you’re irritating everyone.

When I’m on a flight, I just want to read my book/magazine in relative peace. I don’t want to have to wear my noise canceling headphones for the entire flight, just to avoid hearing about what my seatmate plans to do in Tampa. As far as I’m concerned, the silence on a plane is something to be jealously guarded. Text away, watch as many movies on your tablet as you want (with headphones, of course) but please don’t make me listen to your conversations. What can be tolerated in smaller doses (on a short subway ride, for example) has no place on an international flight.

Last week I wrote about airport pet peeves, but they are nothing compared to this. Please, FCC, I’m begging you to think long and hard before you make any decisions.

What do you guys think, am I overreacting? How do you feel about possible cell phone use on airplanes?

Follow me on Twitter @StephSpitler

Image via Shutterstock

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