I like my electronic gadgets as much as the next gal, and understand the growing dependence we’ve all come to have with these items. I can’t imagine leaving home without my cell phone and PDA in my purse, my laptop in my carryon, and certain battery operated devices in my suitcase.
But what I don’t understand is the inability of people to turn these items off for the few minutes that it takes us to close the aircraft door, taxi out, take off, and get up to cruising altitude, when most items can once again be turned back on. Blackberry and Treo users seem to be the worst offenders, so will refer to this problem as PDA separation anxiety.
Like all forms of separation anxiety, it is a deep and abiding belief that the earth as we know it will not continue to rotate on its axis if the individual is not at all times electronically available. Really and truly, this is not the case.
It is okay to turn off your phone, PDA and computer before the Flight Attendants ask you to do so. In fact, it is preferable to do so. However, it is mandatory that you turn them off before you are asked for the third time. I think of this as the three-strikes rule.
Just turn the damn thing off so we can get going. You are not that important. You are causing a delay for an entire cabin of passengers who will soon become surly because I am going to tell them that the reason we are still sitting at the gate is because we have a passenger that is too important to be unavailable to their clamoring public.
If this seems too difficult for you to master, or you believe it is an unreasonable request, may I suggest a therapist before your next flight.
Originally posted: September 29, 2005.