The Federal Communication Commission’s decision to move forward with ending the ban on in-flight calls has not only sparked a furious debate of technology vs. courtesy, it appears it also might dip into the wallets of fliers everywhere.
In two separate surveys, half of Americans said they would pay extra to sit in a “quiet zone” designated by an airline if the ban on cellphone usage is lifted.
In a poll of more than 3,400 fliers by the travel website Airfarewatchdog.com, 53 percent of respondents said they would pay more to sit in the quiet zone, while 49 percent of the 1,001 adult Americans who responded to Expedia.com’s 2013 Airplane Etiquette Study said they would do the same.
Three airlines – Delta, JetBlue and Southwest – have already said they will not allow cellphone usage in-flight even if the ban is lifted, but many other airlines are still evaluating the dilemma.
Several airlines have already introduced so-called ‘quiet zones,’ albeit mostly in response to what turned out to be the No. 1 annoyance on Expedia’s survey – screaming children.
Scoot Airlines, the low-cost subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, last year created the “ScootinSilence” seating area. The first seven rows of its economy class cabin do not allow children in those seats. The year before, Malaysian airline Air Asia X announced plans to launch ‘quiet zones’ on select flights where children under the age of 12 were not allowed to sit.
There has been no quantitative or anecdotal results of whether these ‘quiet zones’ are working, but some believe they create a logistical challenge to create.
Just as the old smoking vs. non-smoking sections of planes didn’t prevent second-hand smoke from wafting to nearby rows, if not the entire plane, it remains to be seen if quiet zones will work.
Then again, if there’s a fee to be made by the airlines, somebody will make it work.
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