US Consumers Want Ban on Cellphone Voice Calls on Planes

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Nearly three out of four US consumers agree that mobile phone usage on airplanes should be restricted to silent features only according to a new survey commissioned by Yahoo! and conducted by Harris Interactive. The survey demonstrates that U.S. consumers also view their mobile phone as more than just a phone it's a computer in their pocket with a wide variety of features. Consumers surveyed support the ability to access mobile phone features like e mail text and IM while in flight but made clear their preference for no talking.

"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."

Across the U.S.A., but especially in the West, most consumers agree that mobile phone usage on planes should be restricted to non-talking features only:

  • West: 83 percent
  • Northeast: 72 percent
  • Midwest: 73 percent
  • South: 69 percent

More than half of consumers (60 percent) would want to use silent features while flying on an airplane such as:

  • Text message: 38 percent
  • Access e-mail: 28 percent
  • Play games: 29 percent

Age impacts consumers' mobile phone service preferences while in flight:

  • 35-44 year olds: 43 percent, more so than any other age group, would want to check e-mail on their mobile
  • 18-34 year olds: 62 percent would want to text and 29 percent would want to instant message (IM)

The Talking Zone

If usage of mobile phones was allowed while in-flight, more than two out of three (69%) consumers agreed that there should be a designated area of an airplane for passengers who want to talk on their mobile phones. In fact, older consumers (76%) and women (73%) are more likely to agree than their younger (64%) and male (64%) counterparts.

This Mobile Phone Usage survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Yahoo! Mobile between April 29 and May 1, 2008 among 2,030 adults ages 18+, of whom, 1,778 are mobile phone owners who have ever flown in an airplane.

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