The View From 35,000 Feet
There are a few laptops (mine included) and some tablets, but mainly, everyone is jacked into their phones. A few two-thumbers are engaged in video games, but most are one-thumbers, busily swiping. Phones are an important part of these people's lives. Earlier, at the concourse, I saw a young mother intently swiping her phone while her infant lay unattended. Actually, I see that quite often. I imagine that these young mothers are doing important things with their phones, for example, advising President Obama on his handling of the deteriorating situation in Iraq.
If this regional jet had to make an emergency landing, in the mad scramble to escape, I guarantee you that most of my fellow passengers would take their phones with them. In all fairness, they would need their phones, so they could shoot selfies in front of the twisted, flaming fuselage.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I hate phones. My question is this; do you hate phones as much as I do? More helpfully, how do they rank on your list of valuable possessions? If your house was on fire, what possession would you grab first? Your McIntosh MC275 amplifier? Your Thorens TD124 turntable? Your virgin 180-gram LPs? Or your phone? Admittedly, the phone is an easier lift than a McIntosh, but surely a good amp, especially a tube amp, is worth the extra effort?
During the Golden Age of Audio/Video, I imagined that the world would magically evolve toward some future enlightened time when everyone would want to enjoy music and movie playback the way I most enjoyed it - with a big screen and big speakers. Phones irrevocably changed that, or at least are taking us on a long, miniaturized detour. Among other reasons, that is why I hate them.
Yes, Seat 9D is not exactly an optimal listening/viewing position for traditional home theater. On board this assembled-in-Brazil aircraft, if you need to see a movie, a phone is much better. The problem is this: even when they are not strapped in, compared to their home systems, most of my fellow passengers think that their phones are much better.
In case you're wondering, I'd take the amp.