New Delhi, May 25, 2018: Earlier this month, as we began our slow walk from the hell of the work week to the booze-soaked refuge of the weekend, we were blindsided by the warning of a tragedy about to befall us all. Apparently, the Telecom Commission had finally accepted the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s proposal to give passengers on domestic and international flights in-flight access to their mobile phones’ voice and data services. This will start happening some time in the next three to four months.
To say that this is a preposterous proposal would be an understatement. Air travel in this country is already akin to visiting the ninth circle of hell. It is like one of those quests you read about in fantasy novels where the protagonist has to pass a bunch of obstacles to ward off an ancient curse and save the day.
If you manage to pass the ground staff without getting punched in the face, survive the long lines at the counter and the constant flight delays to finally get to your seat in the plane, your quest is just beginning. You have other indignities such as lack of leg room, forced yoga sessions and impromptu Sonu Nigam concerts to look forward to.
Now, they are adding phone calls and data services to the ordeal. Haven’t we suffered enough? Can you imagine being stuck in a large sardine can with a bunch of people who have never been introduced to the concept of using their inside voice while in public? Unless the callers are going to be stepping outside the plane to complete their phone calls, it does not sound like a good idea according to aviationindia.net.
Let us take you a few months into the future to explain why we think so.
Imagine trying to catch a few winks of sleep while the inconsiderate individual next to you continues to babble into his phone. You might reach your destination tired and cranky, but at least being forced to overhear your co-passenger’s phone conversation made you privy to all the latest gossip about every member of the South Kanpur Rotary Club.
Have you ever been a third wheel on an outing with friends who are a couple and they suddenly start arguing in the middle of dinner? Everyone in the restaurant is looking at your table in disdain and all you want to do is run away from those two monsters. You send up a silent prayer asking for a meteor to strike the restaurant because you cannot handle the awkwardness. That is how every passenger in the plane feels like when the over-sharer three seats behind you decides to have a loud tiff over the phone with their significant other. No matter how uneasy you feel, all you can do is exchange tired shrugs with each other.