Survey: Airline passengers nix cell phone talking in-flight

Editor’s Note: This story is excerpted from Computerworld. For more Mac coverage, visit Computerworld’s Macintosh Knowledge Center.

Nearly three-fourths of U.S. cell phone users recently surveyed don't want to ride an airplane with passengers talking on phones.

The results dovetail with what several airlines have apparently decided already as they prepare to roll out wireless in-flight services such as e-mail, text and IM access from the user's device. Those services, however, apparently will not include wireless talking.

Bruce Stewart, vice president of Connected Life Americas for Yahoo! Inc., which commissioned the survey, said in a statement that the findings show users want in-flight wireless connections. But they "don't want to be forced to listen to the conversation of the passenger sitting next to them."

The online survey of 2,033 adults was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Yahoo! Mobile between April 29 and May 1. Of those who responded, 1,778 were cell phone owners who have flown on an airplane.

Nationwide, 74% of respondents said cell phone use on airplanes should be restricted to silent features. In western parts of the U.S., that number increased to 83% who wanted no talking.

As for silent features, 60% said they would want to use them. Of that group, 38% said they would use text messaging, 28% said they would access e-mail and 29% would play games.

The survey also found that if voice capabilities are allowed in-flight, 69% want a designated area of a plane for people to talk. Yahoo! already has begun offering mobile applications for consumers, including Yahoo! Go 3.0, which provides mail, news and finance content with access to third-party widgets.

Earlier this year, American Airlines Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co., announced testing of in-flight Wi-Fi; both said they would ban voice calls because of passenger concerns. Other airlines testing or planning to launch in-flight Wi-Fi in various forms include Virgin America, JetBlue Airways Corp., Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Qantas Airways Ltd.

This story, "Survey: Airline passengers nix cell phone talking in-flight" was originally published by Computerworld.

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