You could be sitting next to someone using their mobile phone on your next flight.
And if the prospect of hearing ‘I’m on a plane’ for three hours fills you with dread, you’re not alone.
BMI – the first UK airline to install technology that allows passengers to use their mobile phone during a flight – is set to begin its trial soon. BMI will allow only text messages, however, which will cost about 39p each.
Other UK airlines, such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, are waiting and watching before they decide whether to allow mobile use, but Ryanair is also set to start a trial soon, offering calls and texts.
To help inform the debate, we asked 1,000 people for their views. In our poll, only 30% thought it was a good idea and 27% were indifferent.
A sizeable 67% said they would find it annoying if fellow passengers used a mobile during a flight.And 79% thought that if it were allowed, it should be banned at night.
Despite these figures, 40% said that if it were allowed, they’d be likely to use their phone to call or text.
For our online poll, carried out in June, we also asked those who’d flown in the past 12 months what were the biggest annoyances on flights.
|Your top 10 irritations on board|
|Irritation||Percentage of people|
|People kicking your seat||81%|
|Seat comfort/leg room||78%|
|People putting seats back||74%|
|Drunk or rude passengers||60%|
|Children who are noisy/running around||54%|
|Noise from headphones||26%|
|Mobile phone noise||21%|
|Lights on when sleeping||18%|
|Amount of overhead storage||15%|
Based on responses (477) of people who’d flown in the past 12 months
The biggest gripe – for 81% – was the passenger behind kicking your seat; 78% cited seat comfort and leg room and 74% hated the person in front putting their seat back.
Drunk or rude passengers were also a big issue, as was noise. This included mobile phone noise, since some airlines, such as Air France, have been trialling the service for months.
Air France says passengers are billed by their usual operator and rates are comparable to roaming charges for calls from abroad.
The European Commission will monitor charges and the information about them that’s given to passengers.