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Posted: 1:16 p.m. Friday, June 15, 2012

Clark's primer on cell phone etiquette in public


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By Clark Howard

Everywhere you go, people have their phones chirping, beeping or else they're talking on them.

I was at a play recently. We're all used to the pre-show announcements about why you have turn off your cell phone and not text and not take calls during the performance. So what happens after the play gets under way? A woman answers her phone and carries on a conversation while the actors are on stage!

Syndicated columnist Michelle Singletary is going crazy about this kind of behavior. As she notes, it's only going to get worse, as Virgin Atlantic will now allow you to make calls during trans-Atlantic flights. Thankfully, we don't have that on domestic routes -- yet!

But the other day on the air, I talked to a caller about using Google's free video chat while in flight if a plane has wifi on it, which more and more planes do. Well, I soon heard from three people scolding me, asking, "Why would you tell anybody about this? Why would you encourage them?"

You know what? They're right. So I have to apologize. I agree that you can do enough with instant messaging from the airplane without having to resort to the extreme of video chat.

When you are at the movies, in a play or in the library, be smart about your phone. Do what the Japanese do, anytime you're in a public space, it's text and email only. No calls!