Apparently, there are American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Singapore Airlines planes that have cameras in the seat-back entertainment systems.
I’m sure there might be a couple people out there who will believe the airlines when they say they have never used them and never plan to.
Never used them … maybe I’ll believe that. Never plan to …? Let’s just say that never is an awfully long time.
But if the American Airlines spokesman who said the companies that build the entertainment systems included the cameras to potentially offer seat-to-seat video conferencing someday is right, I think I’d prefer they just turn them on to watch me in my seat.
After all, my in-flight activity basically consists of the following:
— Looking out the window. If you’re like me, and wonder why you have to crane your neck backward or lean forward because the windows don’t line up with the seats, here you go. (Short version: Lining them up means fewer seats. Fewer seats mean less money for the airline. I’m sure you find this shocking.)
— Listening to music. However, I never shuffle my music while I’m flying. All that does is divide an hours-long flight into three- to five-minute segments, the end of each requires me to decide if I want to listen to the next song that pops up.
Better instead to pick an artist for whom I have a lot of music and just let it play until it ends. Sugarland/Jennifer Nettles is an obvious choice, given that between them I have more than 80 songs, but even an album knocks off close to an hour.
It’s a lesson I learned from my days as a grocery cashier — dividing the day into longer chunks makes it go faster.
— Trying to sleep. I can fall asleep just about anywhere, anytime … except on planes. There, I tend more to drift in and out.
Handy hint … if you want to sleep, turn off the in-flight status screen on the back of the seat near where the camera the airline may or may not be using may or may not be. I learned the hard way on my first flight to London that it’s mesmerizing.
— Drinking. No, not booze, since I don’t drink alcohol, although I was once on a 7 a.m. flight from Providence to Las Vegas where a group of guys who really thought they were something special sat in front of and behind us and started getting lit pretty much right after takeoff.
Fun dudes, as you well can imagine.
My drink of choice is orange juice without ice. If there’s a snack, I may eat it, depending on what it is. If there’s a hot meal (Aer Lingus, baby!), I will almost certainly eat some of it.
Murphy and his law being what they are, the drink cart almost always comes not long after I have managed to fall asleep.
By the way, my wife can be dead to the world on a plane in about five seconds.
— Go to the bathroom. This is less a matter of nature calling and more in-flight management. I first started doing it while flying to London, specifically right around halfway through the flight.
My thinking was that if I could get through the first half of the flight, I could go to the bathroom, stretch my legs and come back fresh, it would be like a new flight, only half as long.
— Read. This is one of the best things about a Kindle. I have all the books I want in a handy place that doesn’t take up a lot of room. If a flight has free WiFi, I’ll probably use it at least some of the time. If not, I’ll manage.
— People-watch, especially before the flight takes off and after it lands, mostly to see how clueless people are about the overhead bins.
So yeah, really exciting stuff. I’m sure it will provide plenty of entertainment for whomever is on the other side of the camera, but at least no one else on the plane is subjected to it.
But seat-to-seat video conferencing? Unless they figure out a way to do it all by text, that means we all have to listen to whatever discussions can’t wait until landing. At that rate, airlines might as well just allow cellphone calls on flights.
Dear airlines … don’t allow cellphone calls on flights.
I wonder how the people in this photo by StockSnap on Pixabay are going to spend the flight.