Majority say no to inflight cell phone use, knives, toy bats, bow and arrows, according to survey

headlesstsaThe Transportation Security Authority (TSA) has just announced it is backing off its decision to permit, beginning Thursday, 25 April, pocket knives, toy bats, golf clubs (limit 2), lacrosse sticks, billiard cues, ski poles, fishing reels, and other assorted sports equipment, at least for the time being. See my post on “risk based security” Apparently, Pistole (TSA chief) could not entirely ignore the vociferous objections of numerous stakeholders, whom he had not even bothered to consult,  after all. Recall that the former TSA chief, Hawley, had actually wanted to go further, saying

 “They ought to let everything on that is sharp and pointy. Battle axes, machetes … you will not be able to take over the plane. It is as simple as that,” he said. (Link is here.)

I don’t have a strong feeling about blades, but I am very much in sync with the survey that influenced Pistole’s about face as regards cell phones (against) and liquids in carry-ons (for).

Vast majority of Americans say no to cell phone use and pocket knives inflight according to new survey

In a new, nationwide survey, Travel Leaders Group asked Americans across the country if they are in favor of the change and 73% of those polled do not want pocket knives allowed in airplane cabins. Also, a vast majority (nearly 80%) indicate they do not want fellow airline passengers to have the ability to make cell phone calls inflight. The survey includes responses from 1,788 consumers throughout the United States and was conducted by Travel Leaders Group – an $18 billion powerhouse in the travel industry – from March 15 to April 8, 2013.

“The results are very clear. Most Americans would prefer the status quo with regard to cell phone use inflight. Because so many planes are flying at near capacity and many passengers already feel a lack of personal space within the airplane cabin, it’s understandable that they want to continue to have some amount of peace and quiet whether they are on a short commuter flight or a flight that lasts several hours,” stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben.

I’m really heartened to see that people are flouting the knee-jerk expectation that they’d want as much high tech as possible, and are weighing in against cell phones on planes. Recall my post on cell phones (now in rejected posts). Here are some of the statistics from the survey:

When asked, “Are you in favor of this change or against it?” 73% of those polled said they are not in favor of allowing pocket knives on planes.

I’m OK with it.


I’m OK with everything except   pocket knives.


I don’t think these items   should be allowed.


I don’t know.


Cell Phone Use Inflight

Studies are underway to determine if full cell phone use is safe while inflight and a decision on whether to allow such use (not just “airplane mode”) is expected this summer.  In Travel Leaders Group’s survey, nearly 80% of those polled are against allowing passengers to make cell phone calls during flight.  Here are the detailed responses:


I am opposed to it.


I am in favor as long as it   is not used for conversations.


I am in favor of it.


I don’t know.


Additional Statistics and Findings:

  • Eliminate One TSA Security Measure: With regard to TSA security screening at the airport, when asked, “Which of the following TSA security measures would you most like to eliminate?” the top responses were: “removing of shoes” (27.9%), “limits on liquids in carry-on baggage” (24.1%), and “none, do not eliminate any security measures” (19.8%).

  • Airport Security Satisfaction: When asked, “What is your level of satisfaction with airport security today?” 82.0% indicate they are satisfied or neutral with today’s security measures (62.2% indicate they are “satisfied,”19.8% are “neither satisfied nor unsatisfied” and 18.0% are “unsatisfied”).

  • Coach Class Flyers: When asked, “Do you ever fly in Coach Class?” over 94% of those polled said “Yes.” And of those who indicate they fly in Coach Class, when asked what makes flying in Coach most uncomfortable, the top responses were: “Lack of leg room” (49.5%); “seat size” (17.2%) and “pitch of the seat – person in front of me reclines too much” (15.0%).

  • This is the fifth consecutive year for this travel survey.  American consumers were engaged predominantly through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as through direct contact with travel clients for the following Travel Leaders Group companies: Nexion, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders, Tzell Travel Group and  (

 So a tiny bit of good news among the forced air traffic control reductions and FAA cuts that began yesterday: See

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6 thoughts on “Majority say no to inflight cell phone use, knives, toy bats, bow and arrows, according to survey

  1. john byrd

    If people are going to be talking on cell phones, then I would like to have the golf club…

  2. John: That seems fair. Of course, there could be a rule of no more than 3 minutes a call (as on some buses).

  3. anonymous

    I don’t know how scientific this travel group is; they should ask everyone on the plane to fill out a survey.

  4. I’m not a fan of cellphones on planes, but I’m not sure it should be the TSA’s call. If there is not safety hazard, then it should probably be the airlines’ choice.

    I’d be curious to see how many of those against cellphones in-flight were more concerned about privacy/comfort and how many were concerned about safety.

    • Marmaduke: I corrected your typos and trashed your errata. I believe the question was phrased to assume it has been found safe, so surely the desire not to hear people chattering was paramount. They should collect such stats for other public places and make them very public: you don’t like it, so don’t do it (i.e., chatter at length on your cell phone in waiting rooms etc.)

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