Over the Thanksgiving travel period an estimated 30 million Americans plan to fly to enjoy turkey and all the trimmings with far-flung family and friends. The huge increase in air travelers and ever more full — and oversold — flights have made air travel more trying. But it has gotten better in one aspect that most of us in the smartphone-addicted public appreciate: Cell phone use is no longer completely forbidden on planes.
We used to have to turn our phones off and store them when we flew commercially, but now can keep them on as long as they are in Airplane Mode. Why? What’s changed? Weren’t planes supposed to fall out of the sky should some forgetful flier leave their phone on? And what really would happen if everyone started yakking away during cross-country flights?