On my Cincinnati-Boston leg of the trip, we were a little late departing the gate, but the pilot thought we might still arrive ahead of schedule due to some strong tail winds. I had asked my husband to pick me up at 6 pm, but after a quick calculation realized I'd actually arrive closer to 5 pm. So I really wanted to call him and ask him to come earlier than we'd planned, but the airline attendant had already given her "Please turn off all personal electronic devices" speech. So as we were being pushed back from the gate, I pulled my cell phone out and turned it on. I really, really wanted to send John a text message to pick me up an hour earlier, but the man in the seat next to me shot me a disapproving look and then snapped his newspaper, and I found myself hesitating.
What would happen if I chose to use my cell phone after we'd all been told not to? Would the cell phone signal really interfere with the pilot's ability to fly the plane? Or the radio control tower's ability to monitor outgoing and incoming flights? Could my piddling little cell phone call result in an air disaster of catastrophic proportions? I shifted in my seat to hide the fact that I was going to make the call anyway. Or at least send a text message to John. But as I pulled up a blank message screen, and prepared to enter my text message, I hesitated yet again. I rememered the tag attached to my pillow when I was a kid..."Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law" or something like that. It may have even read, "Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Death."
There was no way I was removing that tag. And as I slid the phone closed, I realized there was no way I was making that call, either. I couldn't do it. I was too afraid that if I made that call, this is what would be waiting for me once I reached Boston:
As it turns out, we ran into some nasty weather and were put into a holding pattern over Rhode Island for forty minutes until Boston cleared us to land, and I actually arrived in Boston fifteen minutes later than we'd planned.