Sorry Marx, forget religion. Personal cinema is the opiate of the masses. What better way is there to ensure a generally quiet and contented customer group on a long-haul flight than to have them plugged into their own individual video monitor.
Having flown quite a lot in my time, I must say that I usually have a feeling of excitement when I see that I’m on a plane fitted with personal video screens. I’ll have so many options to choose from that just considering each of them in turn will easily pass half an hour of flight time. There is, however, a dark side to this design choice – the touchscreen…
Often it seems that people over estimate the amount of pressure needed to select things with their fingers on their touchscreens. If they weren’t mounted into the back of someone else’s seat, then this wouldn’t be much of a problem. For some reason, the attraction of personal, individual choice seems to over-ride the social consideration for the passenger in the seat in front. Although the action of touching a screen to select content may be intuitive, the thoughtful pause of consideration for the results of touching the seatback of a fellow passenger seems to be less so – or at least secondary.
As of yet, I’ve witnessed no action taken on behalf of airlines to suggest courteous use of touchscreens. In lieu of this, I make a general call to fellow travelers to take pause and consider before you touch.