In-flight mobile use ‘should be restricted to non-voice’

22 May 2008

Almost three quarters of people believe mobile phone use on airplanes should be restricted to non-voice activities, a Yahoo! survey has found.

The survey of US consumers found that most were only prepared to accept mobiles being used for silent features like email, text and instant messaging while flying.

The EU recently introduced regulations to pave the way for the introduction of the use of mobile phones on flights in Europe.

“There is an increasing debate about the use of mobile phones on airplanes,” said Bruce Stewart, vice-president and general manager, Connected Life Americas, Yahoo!.

“This new survey overwhelmingly proves the desire of consumers to stay connected to the people, information, interests and passions that are important to them while in-flight but they don’t want to be forced to listen to the conversation of the passenger sitting next to them.”

The mobile features rated the biggest priority for in-flight use by survey participants was text messaging (38pc), email (28pc) and playing games (29pc).

Older respondents (aged 35-44) were more likely to list checking email as their top mid-flight mobile priority (43pc), while 18-34 year olds were more likely to want to instant message (62pc).

Some 69pc of those polled said there should be a designated area of an airplane for passengers who want to talk on their mobile phones.

The survey was conducted online within the US by Harris Interactive on behalf of Yahoo! Mobile and polled 2,030 adults, of whom 1,778 were mobile phone owners who had ever flown in an airplane. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

By Niall Byrne