The new airline model is Fill Every Seat. Add in an increasing lack of space between seats, and what do you have? A bunch of strangers squeezed together in a claustrophobic metal tube, which is a recipe for disaster, or at least some very bad behavior. This can start as innocently as "Are you really going to use both armrests?" and take off from there. Alcohol only adds to the fun (and I don't mean in a good way). Remember, we're all in this together, so let's keep it together for the brief time we're in the air.
6. Cellphone Calls Will Be Allowed
The catch is, will you actually be able to make calls? The government (the Federal Communications Commission) is finally coming around to reconsidering its ban on cellphone voice calls on planes (which some international airlines have been allowing for years now). This re-evaluation follows the FAA's decision to allow passengers to use tablets and smartphones on planes anytime, including during landings and take-offs. I predict, however, that no airline will allow voice calls because passengers don't want it (and several airlines are already on record as saying no thanks). My second prediction on this matter: If airlines decide passengers do want this amenity, they'll find a way to charge $50 per call.
7. Security Will Ease but TSA Fee Won't
The quicker security program known as PreCheck is expanding to more airports, and you don't have to be an elite airline miles member or belong to a government-trusted traveler program to get it (although that certainly helps). I've been hearing from several nonelites who were pulled out of the main security queue and directed to the faster keep-your-shoes-on line. Watch for more of this in the new year, but do not expect the TSA to disappear. Security and flying will remain attached at the hip for the near future.
As for fees, the Sept. 11 Security Fee that's bound up in your airline ticket and currently costs $2.50 per flight segment is scheduled to rise to a flat $5.60 or $11.20 per round-trip flight this summer.