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FAA's Ruling On Smartphones During Takeoff Has Had Little Impact 128

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-we're-just-used-to-hiding-it dept.
colinneagle writes: Airlines have seen almost no increase in the use of smartphones, tablets, and laptops among passengers since the Federal Aviation Administration ruled in October that they are now allowed to do so during takeoff and landing, a recent study found. Over a four month period observed by DePaul University's Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development this year, 35.9% of passengers used mobile devices at any point during the flight. In last year's study, while flight attendants still patrolled the aisles for devices that hadn't been shut off, 35.3% of passengers used devices during flight. Chaddick Institute director Joseph Schwieterman said many people may not be interested in using their mobile devices in-flight, and are simply excited for an opportunity to "use the time to sleep and chill out." Another contributing factor is the stipulation to the FAA's rule that still bans the use of smartphones for making phone calls or send text messages, the report noted. That may change soon, however. The FAA recently received public comment on a proposal to lift its ban on in-flight cellphone communications service, which has been in place since 1991.
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FAA's Ruling On Smartphones During Takeoff Has Had Little Impact

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @04:45PM (#47372307)

    That will be the last time I fly commercial. The LAST thing I want to do is be couped up in an aluminum can for 1+ hours listening to half of other people's mindless drivel conversations on their phones. It's already bad enough the second the plane hits the runway on landing everyone pulls out their phones to call people. And they don't just have the "ok we just landed I'll meet you out front in 20 minutes" short talk. - No it turns into long drawn out annoying conversations hat CERTAINLY can wait until they are off the plane to have.

    • by pedrop357 (681672) *

      You can always pick the airline that doesn't allow calls.

      • by PvtVoid (1252388) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @04:58PM (#47372381)

        You can always pick the airline that doesn't allow calls.

        And when there are no such airlines left, then what?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Deal with it? Implying airlines won't manage to find a way to accommodate prima donnas with a cell phone free seating section.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            I see you don't travel much. It sucks bad enough when people are minding their own business, I don't need to hear your unimportant conversation as well while I'm trying to listen to a movie or maybe trying to sleep.

        • by rworne (538610) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @11:12PM (#47373897) Homepage

          Several airlines now have in-flight WiFi and while the bandwidth is crappy, you could use it for VOIP. The two airlines I have flown on that have this (Lufthansa and United) both expressly forbid the use of Skype and voice apps for the very reason you state - it annoys other passengers.

          Here's what Lufthansa has to say about it:

          The option of making mobile phone calls has been disabled in response to the wishes of a majority of our customers. In addition, customers are advised that Internet telephony (VOIP) is likewise not permitted.

          And United:

          It is against United policy to allow videoconferencing or voice communications in flight. Live video and Internet streaming services are not supported.

          I have the same concerns you do, but this is one thing the airlines so far have gotten right.

          • Several airlines now have in-flight WiFi and while the bandwidth is crappy, you could use it for VOIP. The two airlines I have flown on that have this (Lufthansa and United) both expressly forbid the use of Skype and voice apps for the very reason you state - it annoys other passengers.

            Here's what Lufthansa has to say about it:

            The option of making mobile phone calls has been disabled in response to the wishes of a majority of our customers. In addition, customers are advised that Internet telephony (VOIP) is likewise not permitted.

            And United:

            It is against United policy to allow videoconferencing or voice communications in flight. Live video and Internet streaming services are not supported.

            I have the same concerns you do, but this is one thing the airlines so far have gotten right.

            I never understood this, I can chat to the guy next to me, even over the aisle and no one gives a shit. Put it on a phone and everyone freaks out. Is it because you can only evesdrop and half my conversation than annoys you so much?

            Who was the guy who said it interrupts him watching videos? Maybe we don't want to listen to what ever shit you happen to be watching, also that's what headphones are for fuckwit.

            • by Imrik (148191) on Thursday July 03, 2014 @03:50AM (#47374539) Homepage

              People tend to talk louder on the phone.

            • by dave420 (699308)
              Instead of "conversation", think of "piece of music", and then figure out why it might be jarring to be exposed to only half of it, in sporadic sections.
              • Think background noise, which is what it is, and tune it out. Thinking of it as music implies you want to listen to it.
                • by dcw3 (649211)

                  Conversation isn't the same as background noise. Neither is all music...I know that I can listen to classical, and get work done all day, but put on my favorite rock & roll, and the concentration ability disappears.

                  People yacking on aircraft are simply inconsiderate of those around them. I was stuck on a red-eye recently, with two young ladies (several rows back) that chatted loudly through nearly the entire flight. Even my headphones couldn't drown them out, which is why I recently purchased noise c

            • by richlv (778496)

              a) too many people fucking shout in their stupid phones. then there are the retards who put the mobile on loudspeaker and hold it near their waist. and shout (this seems to be an american thing, though).
              b) psychologically, one-sided conversions are more annoying : http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/... [nytimes.com]
              c) it's less likely for two unstoppable speakers to sit next to each other. one person will likely get tired. unstoppable idiot will all everybody they know.

            • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

              When talking to someone else on the aircraft you are both in the same noisy environment and can adjust your volume levels to the minimum required. When talking on the phone you only have the tiny phone speaker that gets drowned out by wind/engine noise, so you tend to shout in order to "compensate". It's the same thing as people wearing headphones shouting because they can't hear you. It just be some kind of flaw in the way humans process that sensory input.

              Talking relatively quietly to your neighbour is fi

        • You can always pick the airline that doesn't allow calls.

          And when there are no such airlines left, then what?

          You could always shove the inflight meal in your ears.

        • by operagost (62405)
          Besides your scenario being foolish-- there is a significant customer base like you who the airlines would like to serve-- it's not government's place to keep you from being annoyed. Banning phone calls in-flight because it annoys people is worse than the chewing gum ban in Singapore. At least that was done because of the vandalism to the infrastructure.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TWX (665546)
        No airline will ban phones being used for calls, and even if they do make such a ban, if there's no law against it then that won't stop passengers from doing it despite such a ban as there won't be much recourse.

        The abusers will be the business/sales frequent fliers, and worse, they'll be just as angry or harried or aggressive on the phone during the flight as they are before the cabin door is closed and as soon as the aircraft touches down. And since those are the passengers that earn the airlines the
        • by puto (533470)
          I fly internationally and nationally quite a bit, and I work for a major cell co in the US. The majority of the people I see on planes using their phones are young kids and entitled soccer moms.
          • by TWX (665546)
            I've had a couple years where I flew six trips per year. My wife had a couple of years where she flew probably fifteen trips. The harried sales type was common on my flights and she's commented on such too. Usually agitated because something in a sales presentation wasn't ready or something.
        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          Some train services have quiet carriages where phone calls or on-going conversations are not allowed. Maybe aircraft could have the same thing. They don't charge extra for the quiet carriages.

        • by dcw3 (649211)

          While there may be no direct law banning the use, there is regulation requiring passengers to follow the directions of the crew, and that can easily extend to include telling you to put the phone away.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Those aluminum cans you mention fly above 30,000 feet. 1-2W smart phone transmitters can't actually blast through the fuselage, down through 6 miles of atmosphere and reach a tower.

      Physics and shit.

      Now I suppose they might put mini base stations in the planes, but using it will cost, so it won't be used a lot. Not much more than the mostly unused in-seat phones they've had one some commercial aircraft for years, anyhow.

      So chill out.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by PRMan (959735)
        9/11 confirms your claims...in the negative. Many people made calls that day when they knew they were going to die.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Those planes were at low altitude to evade radar and attack surface structures. Ordinary airline flights don't cruise around a 1000 feet.

    • by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @05:50PM (#47372649)
      Step 1: Get a smartphone for yourself and put music on it.
      Step 2: Get in-ear earbuds that filter out most ambient noise.
      Step 3: Press Play.
      • by geekoid (135745)

        So you solution to other people being intrusive is to put shit in my ears?
        IS that what you think when you neighbor cranks his music at 3AM? well, I guess I'll just put my earbuds in. herp, derp.

        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          You're solution to other people exercising their right to simply speak is to restrict their right to speak?
          And you're comparing talking on a mobile phone during the day in a public area to blasting music at 3AM?

          I'm not sure if I should call you a Nazi or a deranged old timer who really needs to be put on meds. Maybe try tapping those damn bastards who dare to speak with a broom that will sort them out.

        • by Quirkz (1206400)

          The ear buds are pretty nice just because the plane is so loud, honestly. I wore them once to listen to music, and it was so refreshing cutting out the engine noise I wear them all the time now, regardless of whether I'm even playing music.

    • The only reason for the government to ban cell phone use in flight is that they are dangerous. They are not. Your personal sensibilities are irrelevant. If airlines wish to prohibit that activity that is their business (and I would support it) but you do NOT get to use your dislike of something to continue an edict that we've known serves no purpose for some time now.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It doesn't matter how annoying being couped up with people yaking on a cell phone might be, that doesn't justify the FAA keeping it illegal. The FAA's jurisdiction is only over the safety of airplane flight, and if they are confident the cell phones won't disrupt the airplane's systems, there is no reason for continuing to make it illegal.

      That, of course, doesn't mean the airplanes can't have their own policies in place banning disruptive behavior, and the FAA can impose civil penalties [criminalde...lawyer.com] for "interfering wit

    • It's a moot point. For the time being, there isn't a whole lot of coverage at 39,000 ft anyway.

    • by paulpach (798828)

      That will be the last time I fly commercial. The LAST thing I want to do is be couped up in an aluminum can for 1+ hours listening to half of other people's mindless drivel conversations on their phones. It's already bad enough the second the plane hits the runway on landing everyone pulls out their phones to call people. And they don't just have the "ok we just landed I'll meet you out front in 20 minutes" short talk. - No it turns into long drawn out annoying conversations hat CERTAINLY can wait until they are off the plane to have.

      I suppose it is impossible for you to ever take a train or long bus trip. Should we ban cell phones from them too?

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      That will be the last time I fly commercial. The LAST thing I want to do is be couped up in an aluminum can for 1+ hours listening to half of other people's mindless drivel conversations on their phones. It's already bad enough the second the plane hits the runway on landing everyone pulls out their phones to call people. And they don't just have the "ok we just landed I'll meet you out front in 20 minutes" short talk. - No it turns into long drawn out annoying conversations hat CERTAINLY can wait until the

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      That will be the last time I fly commercial. The LAST thing I want to do is be couped up in an aluminum can for 1+ hours listening to half of other people's mindless drivel conversations on their phones. It's already bad enough the second the plane hits the runway on landing everyone pulls out their phones to call people. And they don't just have the "ok we just landed I'll meet you out front in 20 minutes" short talk. - No it turns into long drawn out annoying conversations hat CERTAINLY can wait until they are off the plane to have.

      In-flight phones in the back of the seat have been available for years. Were in-flight calls a problem for other passengers, you'd think we would have realized it by now.

      • That will be the last time I fly commercial. The LAST thing I want to do is be couped up in an aluminum can for 1+ hours listening to half of other people's mindless drivel conversations on their phones. It's already bad enough the second the plane hits the runway on landing everyone pulls out their phones to call people. And they don't just have the "ok we just landed I'll meet you out front in 20 minutes" short talk. - No it turns into long drawn out annoying conversations hat CERTAINLY can wait until they are off the plane to have.

        In-flight phones in the back of the seat have been available for years. Were in-flight calls a problem for other passengers, you'd think we would have realized it by now.

        Those phones were also largely ignored because of the expense. Of course, they didn't necessarily communicate to the cell towers like your phone does either - they probably went through the plane's standard communications mechanisms (f.e sat-com, etc.) and then got routed out to a phone system on the ground.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          Those phones were also largely ignored because of the expense. Of course, they didn't necessarily communicate to the cell towers like your phone does either - they probably went through the plane's standard communications mechanisms (f.e sat-com, etc.) and then got routed out to a phone system on the ground.

          In-flight calls would be similar. You'd roam onto the airplane's microcell rather than try to reach the ground (the signal can only go out the windows, which makes it a fair bit weaker and it bounces aro

    • That will be the last time I fly commercial. The LAST thing I want to do is be couped up in an aluminum can for 1+ hours listening to half of other people's mindless drivel conversations on their phones. It's already bad enough the second the plane hits the runway on landing everyone pulls out their phones to call people. And they don't just have the "ok we just landed I'll meet you out front in 20 minutes" short talk. - No it turns into long drawn out annoying conversations hat CERTAINLY can wait until they are off the plane to have.

      TSA is nearly enough for me to do that already.

    • by unixisc (2429386)

      I flew recently, on 2 occasions. They clearly ask people to disable cellular functionality on their phones at all times, and leave the phone in Airplane mode. As of now, Airplane mode still disables not just cellular reception, but Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as well. So it's misleading to claim that despite FAA rulings, things have not changed. The reason things have not changed is that the airlines have not transmitted that decision, but have kept it at status quo - allowing only Airplane mode.

      One of the f

  • Point? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chuckstar (799005) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @04:48PM (#47372321)

    I'm not sure I understand the point. I don't remember anyone claiming that more people would use mobile devices on planes if they could use them during taxi and takeoff. It seemed it was always just that the people who were already using devices on planes wanted to also be able to use them during taxi and takeoff.

  • Was this unexpected? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Guspaz (556486) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @04:50PM (#47372337)

    We expected the new rules to increase the use of devices during takeoff/landing from 0% to not-0%... not increase the use of devices in general.

    • Exactly. The numbers in the summary are irrelevant with regards to the impact of the lifting of the ban.

    • by phorm (591458)

      Except - based on what I've seen on existing flights - the real number was already non-0% anyhow.

  • The lack of data services makes them not such an attractive option. The expensive in-flight wifi doesn't really cut it.

    More interesting statistics would be the number of people that use devices at all during the flight, though that would be more difficult to determine.
  • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @04:51PM (#47372345)

    n/t see subject

    • I think so. The safety briefing / video has been changed in Europe to explain when "small electronic devices" may be used etc.

    • I've flown a few times since the ban was lifted. Airlines are pretty clear during the stewardess briefings what is allowed and not allowed. You can use your phone but only in airplane mode. They've updated their safety videos to include it as well in some cases.

      The international flights are fun as some countries haven't lifted the ban so you never know what they're going to do. The ones I've flown don't allow it when taking off in another country, but do allow it when taking off in the US.

    • This is actually the first real word I'd seen on it. I flew back in May and remember not hearing a notice when we crossed 10k feet that we could use devices, but just figured that I'd missed it. The cool part to watch out the windows is under 10k anyway :P

  • by Anonymous Coward

    to "use the time to sleep and chill out."
    Seriously?!

    Anecdotal but just flew cross coast twice last week and chilling out in my designated sq ft of cabin room did not inspire ant sense of chilling out. If not for the games, movies, content on my kids &I iPads, it would have been an almost unendurable human "trash compactor" experience. Yes I'm talking to you united airlines.

    • by Rinikusu (28164)

      :: shrug :: I've flown over 150k miles over the past decade and I can count the number of times I've been awake during take-off on one hand. Then again, I take the 6AM flights which means I've been up since 2-3AM.

      • by whoever57 (658626)

        After flying on a domestic US flight, sat next to a pilot who did not turn off his phone (he knew that it was on), I usually did not bother turning my phone off before the ban was lifted.

        Also, one only had to scan for bluetooth devices on flights on which radios were supposed to be turned off to know that the rules were flouted for years.

    • by rsborg (111459)

      to "use the time to sleep and chill out."
      Seriously?!

      Anecdotal but just flew cross coast twice last week and chilling out in my designated sq ft of cabin room did not inspire ant sense of chilling out. If not for the games, movies, content on my kids &I iPads, it would have been an almost unendurable human "trash compactor" experience. Yes I'm talking to you united airlines.

      I'm rarely thankful that I'm not a tall person, but during flights is one of those times. I have no space problems with planes except when I want to use my laptop. Been very good at migrating to iPad for most stuff (even work), however.

    • by praxis (19962)

      I don't see why you think that someone who is capable of not playing games or watching movies or "consuming content" for a few hours does not fly. Some people can actually chill out for a bit.

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @04:55PM (#47372365)

    I've been in other parts of the world that have always allowed continuous cell use on planes, and so planes fell out of the sky like hail. oh wait, nothing happened

    • by manoweb (1993306)
      Ryanair used to have a nano-cell on board so in fact you could make phone calls while flying.
    • by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @09:11PM (#47373551) Journal

      Sigh. Not this again.

      Airplanes don't fall out of the sky because, first, there's a pilot on board to think about what his instruments are telling him. Second, airplanes usually have back-up systems for important stuff.

      NASA has a voluntary database of in-flight incidents [nasa.gov]. There are issues related to "Passenger Electronic Devices" (Event Type category is "Flight Deck/Cabin/Aircraft Event" and value is "Passenger Electronic Device") that don't cause the plane to crash. However, it can affect aircraft radios used for navigation and voice communication and, on rare occasions, will cause the autopilot to disengage--assumedly due to odd signals being received from the above.

      So the whole, "I don't know of any planes that have crashed because of a cellphone call" doesn't mean there isn't interference. It just means that the pilots handle it--sometimes by having the Flight Attendants re-check to make sure that people have turned things off. I remember reading about a pilot who got a signal that one of the cargo doors had opened while at 30,000 feet. He ignored it because if that signal had been true, he'd also see a whole bunch of other warnings about depressurization and the plane would probably be acting strangely.

      Recently a Maysian Airlines flight went missing. You may have heard about it in the news. Nobody can understand why the pilots would have deviated from their course and had trouble communicating...

      • by Zaelath (2588189)

        Except that there's no proof that it was PEDs, just a general suspicion that they couldn't work anything else out so it must be that.

        I will bet you a gonad that the Malaysian flight had nothing to do with PEDs.

      • by Zaelath (2588189)

        BTW, the actual 2001 report from NASA on PED's admits that all the evidence is purely anecdotal and the ONLY thing that attempts to lend the data any credibility is pilot flying hours:

        http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/n... [nasa.gov]

        Even though ASRS PED events are anecdotal there is one category of the database that provides
        supporting credibility to these events--pilot flight hours. The total mean flight time of 10,790
        hours from Table 1 indicates that pilots reporting PED events are very experienced. In order to
        gain some appreciation of what constitutes a very experienced pilot it is helpful to consider the
        significance 10,790 hours converted to years of aviation experience. In today's market a typical
        recruiting company's hiring minimums are 3300 military hours or 5300 civilian hours for a
        position with a major airline. Once hired a pilot could then acquire approximately 700 to 800
        hours annually. If, for example, a military pilot with 3300 hours starts flying with a major airline
        averaging 700 hours a year it would take that person about 11 years to reach 10,790 hours.
        Finally, if it took 10 years, a conservative estimate, for that pilot to accumulate the initial 3300
        hours then 10,790 hours would have taken 20 years to accumulate. That amount of time is
        indicative of a very experienced pilot.

        So flying hours makes one an electrical engineer? That's some pretty piss-poor science.

      • by richlv (778496)

        i recall reading a summary of all the cases when reported devices were sent to faa or something like that for examination in all of those cases the devices were found to be incapable to cause the described effects, so something else was causing problems, but then passenger devices got blamed

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        So the whole, "I don't know of any planes that have crashed because of a cellphone call" doesn't mean there isn't interference. It just means that the pilots handle it--sometimes by having the Flight Attendants re-check to make sure that people have turned things off. I remember reading about a pilot who got a signal that one of the cargo doors had opened while at 30,000 feet. He ignored it because if that signal had been true, he'd also see a whole bunch of other warnings about depressurization and the pla

      • by rubycodez (864176)

        rubbish

        not a shred of proof any personal comm devices were responsible for those incidents

        your bringing up Malaysian airlines is just laughable

  • by Xicor (2738029) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @05:15PM (#47372481)

    noone can use any devices without wifi really... and guess what, airlines charge a ridiculous amount for wifi.

    • by Idbar (1034346)

      I still see people listening music, watching movies and playing games, now during take off and landing. I don't know where is the submitter flying.

      And although the price is high, I see many people paying for it. They claim streaming services won't work, so I don't see any advantage unless people REAAAALLY need to see their facebook, update their status or tweet that they are flying.

      • by Xicor (2738029)

        actually, during takeoff and landing, most of us are still able to get internet. the issue i was complaining about is when you are up in the air, you no longer get cell phone signal to stream music.

      • by Zaelath (2588189)

        Are you living on the planet of the Chromebooks? I have a LOT of media on my tablet/phone/notebook that I can watch/listen/read without any kind of network connection....

    • by gnu-sucks (561404)

      While I agree that the fees are extreme compared to, say, one entire month of real broadband at home, paying $10 for wifi actually is small compared with hundreds of dollars already spent to fly.

      Still too much though, I agree!

    • I can do quite a bit with my devices without any sort of outside connection. This includes playing games and listening to music.

  • Over a four month period observed by DePaul University's Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development this year, 35.9% of passengers used mobile devices at any point during the flight. In last year's study, while flight attendants still patrolled the aisles for devices that hadn't been shut off, 35.3% of passengers used devices during flight.

    This is vaguely interesting, but doesn't match the headline.

    Another way to read those numbers is "most people (say they) followed the no-electronics rule." The rule

  • by Ries (765608) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @05:27PM (#47372547)
    "use the time to sleep and chill out." my ass. I recently had a 31h flight (24h of them inside the planes) on monkey class. There was nothing pleasant over it, it was a means to get from A to B. The whole flight was survival and sleeping in that upright position was not a choice, it happens when the mind is so tired that it barely can't feel the discomfort anymore. You do anything to try to keep your mind occupied while being crammed in that seat for a full day, with the only break being getting out of the plane, to be scanned for bombs for the X'th time, just to return to the same plane and same seat...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly.

      Travelling by plane is huge pain for me; and I do not even talk about the several neverending queues you have to do in airports, the ever-more-annoying searches, the kilometers you have to walk/run to find the fscking right terminal/gate to board in oh no it's changed again. No, I just mean spending hours and hours with your knees pressed again the front seat so much it starts hurting before you have even done a quarter of the trip, with the right shoulder compressed against your right neighbour and

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Learn to sleep on planes. It changes your life.

      I pretty much automatically fall asleep when I sit down now. Usually open my eyes for the takeoff, then fall asleep again well before cruising altitude.

      It's actually a challenge staying awake part of the flight while flying west to prevent jet lag.

  • ...at 36,000ft. That's why I never use mine... After about 7,000ft I get 0 bars. I'm not going to pay $18 to use WiFi for longer than an hour so I'll just use the time to drink and relax.
  • My favorite game! It's time to queue up everybody who doesn't have a mobile phone, or as is the case more recently, people who *refuse* (as if anybody gives a shit) to get a smart phone, so, with an overtone of great cultural and intellectual superiority, they can proudly show the world how awesomely anti-mobile they are! There may even be little branch threads containing anti-mobile pissing contests. Also, we should plan on hearing from all of the people making sure that everybody knows just how abhorrentl

    • by murdocj (543661)

      I don't have a smart phone, and I don't give a shit whether you have one or not. At some point I'll probably get one, but I don't need one right now. So why should I shell out extra bucks for one? I might as well take a couple of 20s out of my wallet each month and set them on fire.

  • by Known Nutter (988758) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @06:17PM (#47372771)

    Alcohol! Gives me the ability to drown-out/ignore your intrusive cell phone use coupled with the potential to make me more annoying than you to other passengers all the while maintaining my elevated (perhaps evolved?) sense of not giving a fuck about either!

    Win-win!

    Ain't flying fun!?!?

    • by richlv (778496)

      hmm, there's something... any airline that allows phonecalls or provides wifi must provide unlimited free alcohol :)

    • Alcohol... the problem and solution to all of life's problems

  • I've flown a fair amount in recent months and in more than half the flights, I'm trying to use my iPad during takeoff, and the stewardess will come and bark at me to put my iPad away on takeoff or landing. Naturally, on an airplane, the customer is always wrong. It's not just a matter of telling the consumers, it's a matter of the airlines properly training / informing the crew.

    And to add to the rediculousness, when I was flying into St Maarten's airport (the famous one that's right over the beach) last mon

    • What airline is that? There are Standard Operating Procedures. They make their own rule.

      As far as I know, the FAR's basically say that it is up to the operator (the airline) to decide which devices are OK to use [1491.21, and, for typical airline operations: 121.306].

    • by macbeth66 (204889)

      And to add to the rediculousness, when I was flying into St Maarten's airport (the famous one that's right over the beach) last month, the whole plane was reminded that we needed to put away our phones for pictures because "we aren't in FAA airspace, so the rules don't apply here." I guess the EM spectrum is different outside the States...

      What airlines have you been on? I've never been told I couldn't take pictures with my camera. Or maybe this was just a St. Maarten's thing.

      • I would imagine (a) it's a St. Maarten's thing--nobody wants to take a picture of landing at O'Hare and (b) there are so many people who have camera phones as their primary camera that it's easier for the flight attendants to just say, "No photos" than to say, "Only those people using stand-alone cameras can take pictures--no cell phone cameras."

    • Regarding the EM spectrum thing, I noticed it too. I flew from Houston to Manila with United last year. Taking off from Houston we allowed to use devices, landing in Hawaii we were allowed to use devices. Change planes in Hawaii. Taking off we were allowed to use devices. However, upon landing in Guam (still part of the US and on the same plane) we were not allowed to use devices?

  • I always broke the rule before anyway. I listened to lectures and audiobooks starting on my ride to the airport, through the airport, an interruption at security, then in the gate, then boarding the plane, taxiing the plane, take off, flight, landing, taxiing, arrival, and the drive to my destination.

    So nothing is really going to change. Maybe, just maybe I might have a video based lecture that I will watch starting before take off. So now I can do that.

    I suspect that I wasn't alone, in that many peop
  • ...and they made it clear that only larger devices (laptops) needed to be powered off. I know it's just an anecdote, but I kept my iPad mini on with iBooks open (learning Swift!), my kid kept playing 2048 on my iPhone, and I saw two other people within view of my seat using their devices during take-off, even more during landing.
  • Of course the usage hasn't changed. Takeoff and landings are the most exciting parts of a flight. You're either a) not yet gone crazy because of being stuck in a sardine can with crying children and big, fat stinky people or b) you're getting close to escape from the same crying kids and fat, stinky oafs. Why would an electronic device be more interesting?
  • Really? I don't fly as much as many people, but have flown more in the last year than typically, and have noticed in recent months (post-ban) quite a few people using their phones / tablets --mostly playing games, watching movie, reading books -- including at takeoff and landing time. Maybe my experience is just anomalous, but it's been consistent on a dozen or more flights. (And many more people, too, reading with Kindles or other e-readers. That's what I'm typically doing, having given up on the last 3 c

  • by Shoten (260439)

    Everyone's freaking out over things like phone calls on planes over this. People, this isn't a change to the ruling that smartphones and tablets have to be in "airplane mode" during the flight...they still do. This is just a rule allowing you to use the phones in that mode during takeoff and landing.

    I travel a lot for business, and I can say from personal experience that the ruling has made an enormous difference; I don't know from where the FAA is getting their numbers. I might see one person with a sma

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