Could 2014 Bring Phone Booths to Planes?

Conde Nast Traveler
Photographer: Getty Images

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Photographer: Getty Images

Almost nobody wants to listen to phone calls on flights, according to the latest survey of nearly 5,000 passengers by flight deal site Airfarewatchdog. But where previous polls found some limited support for in-air calls (one recent poll found that a third of fliers couldn't care less about the issue), a new spin on the question by Airfarewatchdog suggests nine out of ten frequent travelers think airlines should install old-school phone booths to keep order in the skies.

"Personally, I don't think that inflight phoning will fly," says Airfarewatchdog president George Hobica. "Already, two airlines have said they won't allow it, not because of safety concerns but because in the confined atmosphere of the airplane, with the roar of jet engines, people will be shouting into their phones even more than they (unnecessarily) do on the ground, and this would make an unpleasant experience even more so, especially during nighttime flights. Amtrak solves this problem with 'quiet cars' but that's not an option in the air."

As airlines—not to mention the FAA and FCC—continue to hash out rules on in-flight calls, it's worth mentioning that Emirates Airlines already allows the practice on certain flights. The Gulf carrier may not have any phone booths on its planes, but perhaps Emirates' flying showers are a close second for conversational privacy?

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