updated 8/7/2008 1:50:28 PM ET 2008-08-07T17:50:28

The friendly skies are not so affable when it comes to using cell phones on commercial airliners.

  1. Don't miss these Travel stories
    1. Lords of the gourd compete for Punkin Chunkin honors

      With teams using more than 100 unique apparatuses to launch globular projectiles a half-mile or more, the 27th annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin event is our pick as November’s Weird Festival of the Month.

    2. Airports, airlines work hard to return your lost items
    3. Expert: Tourist hordes threaten Sistine Chapel's art
    4. MGM Grand wants Las Vegas guests to Stay Well
    5. Report: Airlines collecting $36.1B in fees this year

Nearly half of U.S. residents say they would oppose allowing cell phone use aboard flights even if there were no issues with the phones interfering with aircraft communications systems, a Department of Transportation survey finds. About four out of 10 residents said cell phone use should definitely or probably be permitted.

But, as any parent of a teenager could have predicted, there is a cell phone generation gap. Among residents aged 65 and older, about 60 percent oppose cell phone use in flight, while less than a third support it.

For people aged 18 to 34, nearly half support cell phone use in flight, while a little over a third oppose it, the survey found.

The opinions on in-flight cell phone use were part of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics' annual household survey, which questioned 979 residents in November 2007 and 1,063 residents in November 2006. The survey has a plus or minus error rate of about 3 percent.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Communications Commission currently ban passengers from making cell phone calls in-flight. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee last week approved a bill to make the ban permanent.

The committee's action followed moves by the European Union to let airline passengers talk on their cell phones during flight. Some U.S. airlines are experimenting with in-flight Internet access.

Lawmakers said they worry that if the ban is lifted, fights will erupt between passengers who talk loudly on the phones and others who find the callers obnoxious. Some lawmakers also said they fear domestic airlines might try to get the cell phone ban lifted so they can charge passengers extra to sit in no-phone sections.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments