Quick…what the worst idea you’ve ever heard? Forcing readers of your website to “like” stuff on Facebook in order to read it? Yes, that’s a truly horrific idea, surely, but I’m not sure it’s the worst. Casting Ashton Kutcher to play Steve Jobs in a biopic? Equally appalling in its awfulness.
However, all of those bad ideas have been officially superseded by Virgin Atlantic’s bright idea to open the floodgates to people being able to yap on their cellphones on commercial flights.
The British airline’s new service could be a blessing for business travelers who want to stay connected during eight-hour flights across the ocean. It could also be a nightmare for the passenger sitting next to them.
“I suspect most passengers, like myself, would prefer not to listen to somebody on the phone for what might be hours,” said airline analyst Robert Mann.
Initially, the service – which utilizes a satellite connection – will only be available for customers of European cell phone providers O2 and Vodafone and U.S. carrier T-Mobile.
The service debuted Tuesday on the airline’s new Airbus A330-300 planes flying between New York and London. It will expand to nearly 20 planes by year-end, from a handful now.
The report goes on to say that only six passengers will be allowed to use the service at a time, which is, of course, six passengers at a time too many.
Seriously, just give us, the consumers, wi-fi and the ability to text on flights. That’d be perfect. This is all any human being reasonably needs to stay in touch with the outside world for the span of flight and, with a few exceptions, neither of these things is annoying and intrusive to other passengers. Some douche bloviating into his phone for an hour about the round of golf he played the day before or the stripper he fingered last night or the sale he just made could not be annoying or intrusive. It’s as if Richard Branson actually wants someone to flip out and stab a seatmate in the eye with a Richard Branson head ice cube or something.
I wonder if it’ll be difficult to get one of those cell phone call jammers through airport security?