MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A survey of business travelers around the world shows that most - 61 percent - would rather not see cell phone use permitted on airplanes.
Europeans - 70 percent of them - were most strongly opposed while North Americans were most amenable, with just 57 percent against cell phone use during a flight.
Cell phone use is not now permitted on airborne planes for fear that it might interfere with navigation, but a new communications system designed to avoid that problem is scheduled to debut on a couple of European airlines later this year.
The survey of business travelers from 12 countries was commissioned by Minneapolis-based Carlson Wagonlit Travel, one of the world's largest travel firms.
The survey showed that pet peeves vary among business travelers by region. The top annoyance among business travelers in the Asia-Pacific region is crying babies; Europeans are bothered by travelers not checking bags when they should; Brazilians can't stand being disturbed by other passengers; and the No. 1 annoyance among North Americans is people stowing luggage far forward from their seat. All agreed that vacationing travelers are the least of their annoyances.
Those surveyed were less concerned about work-life balance issues and terrorism than in last year's poll.
Airport security lines topped the list of issues with the most negative impact on business travel, with flight delays coming in a close second.
Fifty-eight percent of business travelers say they extend their business trip to include leisure or vacation time, at least once a year, either at the beginning or end of their trip. Of those, 47 percent said they occasionally or frequently have family or friends join them for the leisure portion of the trip.
The telephone survey randomly sampled the opinions of 2,100 business travelers and 650 travel managers, including customers of the company as well as non-customers, between Oct. 27 and Nov. 23.
Respondents were surveyed in Australia, China, India, and Japan; France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom; Brazil; the U.S. and Canada.
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The results of the survey suggest that demand for both domestic and international travel services will continue to grow in the year ahead.
The FAA is looking into whether cell phones, BlackBerries and wireless laptops pose unacceptable risks to flight control systems. The study is due in December 2006.
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Groups urging DOT to act