I think most of the general public understands the idea that in the event of an extreme emergency on an aircraft, turning on the phone to see if you can call a loved one won't automatically cause the plane to crash. I haven't traveled internationally since 2000 (wince) and so can't speak for flights that are crossing the Atlantic, but we learned the hard way in 2001 that phones did actually work on planes. I'm also aware of a non-gender-specific person who works as a lead flight attendant for an unspecified airline that may or may not travel internationally who has been known to occasionally text message before the plane lands. However, the NYT story points out complications that go with "flight phoning" beyond the mere irritation of everyone within three rows of you.
My favorite quote of the story:
“Please for the sanity of the majority of air passengers who do not want to hear cellphone conversations in the air, and to avoid confrontations between passengers, do not allow this practice to begin.”
But the other interesting part to this story--which no one seems to have caught or thought worthy of a big headline--was the paragraph at the bottom about Net Neutrality. The FCC announced that it was going to study high speed Internet practices to determine if there was a need to add a "principal of nondiscrimination" to their rules on the Internet. I'm curious as to why this got the bottom (least read) section of a news story in the New York Times. Why wasn't this more important? This would have a huge impact on our Internet.
Off my soapbox for today--please turn off all cell phones until the flight lands and we start taxing for two hours.