Objective: The study examined the effects of passengers’ conversations on adjacent passengers’ annoyance, attention to in-flight announcements, and performance on following instructions, which could lead to passengers’ injuries. Background: Some airlines have provided services to enable in-flight cell-phone calls. However, passengers’ compliance with safety instructions is essential. Previous research demonstrated that cell-phone calls led to higher levels of distractions than face-to-face dialogues, and people were more annoyed with one-sided conversations, such as most cell-phone conversations. Method: Twenty-four participants took 30-minute simulated flights in a laboratory room. Three announcements, which instructed participants to fasten seatbelts, raise tray tables, and check seatbelts, were given while pre-recorded conversations, including cell-phone and face-to-face conversations, were being played. Participants’ annoyance with conversations and attention to instructions were collected with questionnaires. The performance regarding following instructions was measured by observing compliant behavior. Results: Participants were more annoyed with cell-phone conversations, but they had equivalent levels of attention and compliance. Response times were longer when they were overhearing face-to-face conversations. Conclusion: Cell-phone calls are not more distracting, and they may be safer sometimes than traditional face-to-face dialogues. From a passenger compliance standpoint, cell phones can be allowed and supported. However, the annoyance caused by cell-phone conversations needs to be taken into consideration.
We would like to thank Lindsay M. Carstens and Shawn Shirshekar for their help with recording in-flight announcements and conversations. We would also like to thank the FL Tech College of Aeronautics for providing aircraft seats.
Scholarly Commons Citation
Wheeler, B. E.,
Carstens, D. S.
Examining the Impact of Overhearing In-Flight Cell-Phone Calls on Passenger Safety.
International Journal of Aviation, Aeronautics, and Aerospace,