Surely Las Vegas sports books and London bookies will be offering odds on when and on which airline the first fight breaks out if the Federal Communications Commission goes ahead with a proposal to allow virtually unrestricted cellphone use aboard commercial airliners.
As The Wall Street Journal pointed out, the proposal pits "the technically possible against the socially tolerable" and we know who usually comes out the loser in that particular debate.
Indeed, the FCC tipped its hand when the agency said it would use the public comment period "to review our outdated and restrictive rules." The FCC proposed lifting the 1991-era ban in 1994 but backed off because of opposition from the flight attendants and a number of technical questions.
The technical questions have since been resolved but the flight attendants still oppose in-flight cellphone use and so do a slight majority of the flying public; a Federal Aviation Administration survey showed 51 percent opposed to 47 percent in favor.
Other nation's airlines are equipped with cellphone technology but require their passengers to turn off their phones when they enter U.S. airspace. But cellphones have become ubiquitous in the U.S. and it is probably only a matter of months before their use is allowed aboard our airliners.
The decision about their use is likely to be left to the individual airlines but like charging for checked baggage, as soon as one does it the others will follow.
Airline passengers have become a cynical lot. One frequent flier wondered what would happen if a passenger locked himself in one of the handful of bathrooms to carry on a sustained private conversation.
And others have suggested that the airlines will charge extra for the privilege of using a cellphone in flight and charge extra for a seat that is out of earshot of a passenger carrying on an obnoxiously loud conversation.
In today's air travel, one way or another you pay.
Dale McFeatters is a nationally syndicated columnist.