Unplug before you board

April 5, 2010  /  Lifestyle

Even if you’ve never heard an off-duty flight attendant vent — and trust us, it’s a pleasure — it probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn that one of a flight attendant’s biggest, perpetual problems is the inability to get passengers to switch off their cellphones before take-off.

If you’ve seen FA’s having to do this on a flight, you can imagine it’s stressful for them, just as it’s stressful for the other fliers watching. One would think it also would have to be stressful for the callers forcing themselves to cram or text in that last bit of business.

Frequent business traveler and Allbusiness.com blogger Ken Walker, recognizing that he had enough stress in his life, decided that at a certain point before he even boarded he was going to stop trying to work and unplug, employing a strategy he calls “board with a book.”

While at the airport waiting to board Walker says ” I use my electronic calendar to set email and phone ‘deadlines’ based on my flight time, and I discipline myself to shut the phone OFF a half hour prior to boarding time. I stow all gadgetry and gear in my carry-on with the single exception of a book I’m reading. I’ll go off to a corner of the waiting area somewhere to read until they call to board.  When it’s my turn, I’ll simply scan my boarding pass, walk on, stow my bag, sit, buckle up, and continue reading.  I don’t dig through my stuff for an iPod or other gadgetry until we’re well on our way.  Walk on, sit down, and read. That’s it.”

Since he began living this strategy Walker has witnessed the all-too-typical confrontations between FA’s and passengers convinced that the phone calls they’re on are too critical to be ended, one time hearing a passenger bark at an FA, “This call is crucial to the survival of my company!” Says Walker, “if there’s anything so important that it cannot wait a few hours, and it demands your immediate attention on a cell phone, you probably should take the next flight anyway.” We couldn’t agree more.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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