by Daniel Rubino, Derek Kessler, Kevin Michaluk, Phil Nickinson, and Rene Ritchie
Flying is a pain in the ass. Very few people will argue with that. It’s all that wasted time, sitting around. It’s the indignity of essentially being treated like a criminal as you cross the threshold from real life to revenue passenger. It’s the incessant scream of CNN (or worse) on the airport televisions at every gate. It’s the often overlapping gate announcements. It’s the cramped seats and dwindling in-flight amenities.
But perhaps the biggest problem has been our devolving attention spans — that need to fill every second of every day with something. And for many of us, that’s where our phones and tablets come in.
So that brief interlude between the time the forward boarding door closes and you hear the familiar “ding … ding …” signaling that we’ve reached 10,000 feet and it is now safe to use certain portable electronic devices may well feel like the longest two miles of your life.
We get that. (And I’ll save for another time the argument that indeed it is possible to have moments of quiet reflection while crammed into an aluminum tube with 150 of your closest strangers.)
For those of us who fly a lot — or even for the first-time fliers — being able to listen to music or read a book or play a game from the moment we take our seats and fasten our seat belt low and tight across our laps to the time the plane comes to a complete stop at the gate serves two purposes.
It's a small compromise to those who are tired of being treated like children and potential rule breakers.
First, it’s a symbolic victory. A small compromise to those who spend their time and money on travel and are tired of being treated like children and potential rule-breakers. (Perhaps the change will spur more travelers to act less like youngsters and hooligans, but, again, I digress.)
But more important is that it’s one less hassle. One less interruption in a process that’s simultaneously hurried and monotonous, and continuously punctuated with the reminder that you must follow all these rules, or else!
Phones and our tablets are security blankets for grown-ups. Too many of us don’t know what to do without them — even for a mere 10,000 feet.