London City Airport is Giving Away Free Light Phones, Because Apparently Smartphones are Bad Now

By Tom Pritchard on at

People and their relationship to tech is weird. After the initial thrill of new announcements die down, large groups of people suddenly decide that (relatively) new gadgets are actually a bad thing. You know the type, the ones who will proudly and smugly boast about how they won't play games, read an ebook, or watch television for a bunch of stupid reasons that don't really make any sense. Recently people have started laying into smartphones, because some people reckon they're "addictive", and that seems to be why London City Airport is giving out Light Phones to travellers.

If you've never heard of the Light Phone, there's a picture of it up top. It's basically a phone that looks like a giant calculator, and is only good for phone calls. It doesn't even have text messaging, so there's no chance they were going to try and pack Twitter or Pokémon Go in there. You're not supposed to use it very much, which is why London City Airport is handing them out to people who travel between 13th and 27th August - provided they register their interest on a special web page. They're not wasting them on people who like being able to use their phones for useful things.

The phone will come with an EE SIM card, unlimited minutes, and the EU roaming that really doesn't need to be mentioned because it's an EU-mandated rule now. Passengers travelling to New York will also receive one with a US SIM card, and everyone has to promise they'll stop using their smartphone for at least 48 hours. But the free phone means you can stay in touch with everyone while you're on holiday, and not miss any important calls. Provided they're willing to pick up the phone and speak to you with their actual voice.

Liam McKay, Director of Corporate Affairs at London City Airport said:

“I know from personal experience that it’s not always possible to avoid screen time when on downtime, as my wife will attest. This is an opportunity for some of our passengers, including those who typically use the airport for business travel, to try a digital detox.”

Then again this assumes screen time is a bad thing that causes stress and stops you from relaxing. Which isn't always the case. Rather than ditching your smartphone entirely, why not switch off email notifications and anything else that might distract you from holidaying? Especially if they're work related. There's nothing wrong with using Google Maps to help navigate around a (presumably) strange country, using the camera app to document everything you do, or using Uber to avoid having to hunt down a cab.

Basically if you can't relax because your phone is about, it's not really the problem. But if you're too weak to avoid some sort of smartphone-induced temptation London City Airport has your back. [TechRadar]