Everyone knows that you can’t smoke on a plane anymore, so the no smoking signs are pretty much redundant. It’s not surprising, then, that the lights are due to be replaced by something different on some planes next year.
Once technology is in place that allows people to safely use their mobile phones on planes, the “no smoking” lights will become “no talking on phones” lights. The lights would be used during takeoff and landing, and during the middle of the night so that you aren’t kept awake by the moron beside you chatting to his friends.
Since many phone users are jackasses, the light likely won’t be enough. The new technology may allow flight crews to turn phones off remotely, or to only allow them to send text messages and not use voice services.
Airbus is developing the service. Air France and Ryanair will be the leaders in the service when they receive new planes early next year.