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Carl Hiaasen: Imagine a flight that allows cellphones

  • Miami Herald
  • Published Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, at 12 a.m.

An absolutely true news item: The Federal Communications Commission is considering a rule change that could allow airline passengers to use their cellphones during flights.

Good morning, everybody, and welcome to Jet Miserable. Please take your seats as quickly as possible so we can close the cabin doors and be on our way.

I see that many of you are already taking advantage of our nonstop cellphone connectivity, but please give me your full attention for a few moments.

Hello? Hey, look this way! See my arms waving?

OK, I’ll crank the volume and try again: YO, MOTORMOUTHS! LISTEN UP!

That’s better, thanks.

While major airlines such as Delta, JetBlue and Southwest have decided to remain cellphone-free, we here at Jet Miserable have dedicated ourselves to you, the obnoxiously talkative traveler.

Please hang up and take a break – HEY, PADRE, THAT MEANS YOU! TELL THE ARCHBISHOP YOU’LL CALL HIM BACK! – while I review the new safety procedures and regulations.

If for some reason the plane loses cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will automatically drop from a compartment above your seat. Before strapping on the mask, you must first stop talking and put down your cellphone.

Let me repeat: The oxygen mask is not designed to fit over your mouth, nose AND phone. If you’re traveling with children, gently pry their phones away from their faces before attaching the breathing masks.

In the event of an emergency that requires a water landing, let me remind you that your cellphone is not a flotation device. I don’t care if you spent $79 on a waterproof case – let it go, people, and use the seat cushion.

As a convenience, Jet Miserable has divided the cabin into separate sections, according to the various ways our passengers like to use their cellphones. Please check your boarding passes now to make sure you’re seated in the right place.

Rows 25 to 30 are reserved for those needing a little extra privacy, such as dope dealers, Ponzi schemers, mob bosses, undercover cops and anyone who’s in the middle of breaking up with somebody else.

Rows 20 to 25 are designated for our anxious fliers who are constantly on the phone with incredibly tolerant family members. If you check the seat pockets on those rows, you’ll find reassuring statistics about the safety of air travel, along with some useful tips on the appropriate dosages of your favorite sedatives.

If you’ve flown with Jet Miserable before, you know that the middle section of the aircraft, Rows 10-20, is always set aside for our loudest, rudest, most unbearable passengers.

I can say that over the intercom because they’re all babbling on their phones again, totally ignoring me.

Our research shows that seating the most annoying gabbers in the same area of the plane produces a wall of white noise that virtually smothers the details of their unbelievably banal phone conversations.

If you’re sitting next to someone you think belongs in the middle rows with the other serial yakkers – for example, a teenager blathering on to some distant voice about her totally useless but super-hot boyfriend – please contact one of the flight attendants right away.

As usual, Row 9 of the aircraft is designated for passengers using their cellphones to speak with elderly relatives in Florida. Each of these premium seats is provided with a tailored Kevlar hood that muffles exasperated pleas and repetitive shouting.

Rows 1 to 8 are reserved for our valued Club Chit-Chat members. These are the passengers whose cellphone conversations are often worth overhearing – a stockbroker, for instance, advising a client to dump Apple and go big with Twitter.

Or a famous fashion model calling her BFF to share the latest at-home waxing tips.

We seat these folks in the front of the plane so that we can eavesdrop while preparing the meal service, our famous pomegranate smoothies. As advertised, every entree on Jet Miserable is served through a straw, enabling you to keep one hand free to clutch your precious phone.

By the way, today’s in-flight movie is “The Sound of Music,” which will be shown with no sound. Admit it – you wouldn’t be listening, anyway.

Carl Hiaasen is a columnist for the Miami Herald.

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