No Cell Phone Airplane Signs

As somebody who has done a fair-share of flying over the last 18 months, I think I have the whole commercial air travel thing down. I know my flotation device is under my seat,  I know how to properly place an air mask over my face in the event of a sudden decrease in cabin pressure and I know to never order the fish.

The one thing I don’t know is why there are still those no smoking signs above my head on every aircraft. While Bloomberg reported earlier this year that people are still getting arrested and cited for smoking in bathrooms, I don’t think it’s that necessary to have those red “X” cigarette light next to the seatbelt sign on every row after 20 years of the ban. Reminders in the bathrooms themselves are likely good enough, because nobody is stupid enough to light up in the seating area. David Cross covered this topic more succinctly for his opening bit on his new stand-up special (seen here).

I’ve been on flights before when the co-pilot has mistakenly turned off the no smoking sign instead of the no seatbelt sign. Non-smoking flights have been around long enough that people aren’t going to light up when a co-pilot makes a mistake. I’ve even been on brand-new aircraft that still have this sign. First of all, why are aircraft still being made with this switch or sign? Why does there still need to be a picture on every single damn row?

A mock-up I made to show what the new sign could look like.

I think the better idea is to change the smoking sign into a cell phone sign. Or at least for electronics in general. The use of Wi-Fi is increasing on flights, too. After the opening telecommunications spectrum once held by those old middle seat credit card phones on more and more airlines was opened up, more people are now willing to bring their toys with them on the plane.

However, cell phones are still banned for (supposedly) interrupting in-flight communications. I’ve recently been on flights where people still get the cell phone ban confused for the take-off/landing electronics ban. It would make more sense to have a lighted sign that indicates to passengers when they can or cannot use a cell phone. It’s simple.

An article I found from 2006 said some French airlines will replaces the smoking signs to cell phones signs. However, I can’t find any more articles on the topic to see if they actually have implemented them, or it just never panned out. Odds are, when airlines took a huge economic hit a few years ago, they backed off upgrades like these. Just a pet peeve of mine, I guess.

What do you think of this idea?

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