Cellphones on planes

A poll finds that more than half of passengers would pay to sit in a quiet zone if cellphone calls were allowed on planes. (Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images)

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If a ban on cellphone calls on commercial planes is lifted, a majority of travelers said they would be willing to pay extra to sit in a chatter-free quiet zone on the planes.

That is the finding of a poll of more than 3,400 fliers by the travel website Airfarewatchdog.com. Of those polled, 53% said they would pay to sit in an airplane’s quiet zone.

It’s a relevant question because the Federal Communications Commission is now accepting public comment on a proposal to lift the 22-year-old ban on cellphone calls on commercial airlines. Three airlines, Delta, JetBlue and Southwest, say they will not allow cellphone calls even if the ban is lifted. United Airlines said it is still evaluating its passengers' views on the subject but for now will continue to ban calls.

But the poll result raises the question: Would airlines allow onboard cellphone calls just to charge passengers a fee to sit in a quiet zone?

George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com, said he doesn’t think airlines would charge such a fee. But he added: “It’s dangerous to second guess airlines when it comes to passenger fees.”

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