Flight Observations and Questions

During my flights to and from Portland this week, I managed
to drum up a list of random questions about plane travel. I hope some of our well-traveled readers can chime in with
comments regarding this list of burning questions:

1) Airfone: Have you ever seen someone actually use
Airfone (or a similar service) to make a call? If you’ve
used the phone or sat by someone who did, we want to hear your story — when, why and how much did it cost? I don’t fly
nearly as often as some of our Gadling readers, but I’ve never witnessed anyone calling from the in-flight phone, and
I’m curious if they ever get used.

2) In-flight library: Have you ever requested a newspaper or magazine from the plane’s in-flight
library? Not sure why I was not aware of this service… Sometimes I rush to buy a magazine before boarding because I
have nothing to read during the flight. But I didn’t realize I could just ask for something from the
plane’s personal library.
And I assume magazines must be returned at the end of the flight, but what about daily newspapers — do you get to keep

3) Sky Mall: The guy next to me should have asked for something from the in-flight library because
I swear he read the Sky Mall magazine during the
entire time I watched the Willy Wonka movie that was playing on board. Two hours is a long time to browse through any
catalogue, and if someone is going to look at Sky Mall for that long, they ought to buy something I think. Which is
another thing I’m wondering about. Who buys from Sky Mall? Fess up! We want to know who you are and what you’re buying.
Have you been happy with your purchases, or has the altitude caused you to make some bizarre purchases at 10,000 feet?
[Related: take the sky mall pop

4) Noice-reduction headphones: One of the items I noticed while scanning the Sky Mall mag were
these $300
noise reduction headphones
. The woman sitting in front of me was wearing them too, wonder if she bought them
through Sky Mall? I’m guessing that a good portion of frequent flyers invest in this massive head gear, but is it worth
the hefty price tag and weight to lug around?

I’ll wrap up with a slightly related tip regarding headphones. If you want to watch the in-flight movie and don’t
have headphones of your own, be sure to print out your boarding pass online before heading to the airport — Continental
offers a free coupon that waives the $5 headphone rental fee, but you have to print it out online. I’m assuming other
airlines may have similar offerings. They are cheapy headphones of course (no noise reduction with these!), but that is
all the more reason to make sure you don’t pay for them.