Before We Ban Mobile Phones On Planes, Why Not See If They're Really A Problem?

from the we're-congress,-we-don't-do-empirical-evidence dept

We've already explained why it's rather silly for Congress to pass an outright ban of talking on mobile phones in-flight, but that probably won't stop the effort from going forward. However, new research is showing how this may be even less necessary than many assume. First, contrary to the idea that most people are worried about in-flight phone use, most younger users seem to actually support it.

As for the concern that it would just be really "annoying"? It turns out that when you look at actual tests (what a concept), this turns out not to be a problem. Passengers develop their own etiquette for keeping quiet and not pissing off other passengers. In other words, social pressures can handle most of the worst scenarios without the need for any sort of law that bans it in all situations. But, of course, this is Congress we're talking about. They're not huge fans of basing laws on what actually happens, but on what will generate the best headlines.

Also, just to respond to some of the misconception in the comments to the previous post: the potential ban has absolutely nothing to do with the technology issues related to using mobiles on airplanes. It's entirely about the etiquette/annoyance issue. Most of those technical issues have been worked out by putting a "picocell" on the airplane itself to redirect the voice traffic in a more efficient manner, rather than having the phones try to connect directly to towers on the ground.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 6:25pm

    You don't need to "see if they're really a problem". They are NOT a problem. If a cell phone could even remotely crash or disrupt an airplane, they wouldn't just trust you to turn it off. They would take them from you and remove the batteries and return them to you after the flight. The reason you can't use a cell on the plane is because they WANT YOU TO PAY FOUR BUCKS A MINUTE FOR AT&T PLANE PHONES.

    Seriously. A little common sense, folks.

     

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      Mike (profile), Aug 8th, 2008 @ 6:49pm

      Re:

      You don't need to "see if they're really a problem". They are NOT a problem. If a cell phone could even remotely crash or disrupt an airplane, they wouldn't just trust you to turn it off.

      Did you not read the last paragraph? No one's questioning whether there's a technical problem. It's only the etiquette question.

       

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      Brian, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 7:02pm

      Re: it could be a problem

      I was a baggage-handler while in college - 1995ish - on the night shift. The last few flights of the night, we cleaned out the interiors of the planes and moved them away from the gates for turn-around the next morning (only had two gates). I've been in the cockpit behind the stick of many 727's, 737's, 757's and MD-88's directing that pushback with all the comms active and my cellphone did the same thing to those systems that it does to your PC speakers when it rang.

      Perhaps technology has improved. I'd rather not take the chance.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 9:31pm

        Re: Re: it could be a problem

        I've been in the cockpit behind the stick of many 727's, 737's, 757's and MD-88's directing that pushback with all the comms active and my cellphone did the same thing to those systems that it does to your PC speakers when it rang.
        You mean absolutely nothing? Because that's what it does to my PC speakers.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 12:12am

          Re: Re: Re: it could be a problem

          My current cell phone does nothing to my speakers, but tottaly hoses my 7.1 surround sound headphones. It has to be ringing/receiving a text and within 12 feet to do this though.

           

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          BobbieT, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 5:20pm

          Re: Re: Re: it could be a problem

          I'm sure he's talking about the interference noise that is made by a lot of phones. If you hear it you'll know exactly what it means. The first time I had a phone that did it was an LG on the ATT network a few years back. Now I have another phone that does it (Samsung Blackjack II) on ATT network as well. I'm not sure if it's these phone companies, or the G network.

          I've heard that sound on several sports and newscasts where anyone with one of these phones or ATT is within 20 feet of a microphone.

          ..though I've never seen this interference cause any problem other than an auditory annoyance.

           

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        Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Aug 10th, 2008 @ 10:36am

        Re: Re: it could be a problem

        "I've been in the cockpit behind the stick of many 727's, 737's, 757's and MD-88's directing that pushback with all the comms active and my cellphone did the same thing to those systems that it does to your PC speakers when it rang." Of course, the article is about etiquette, not about technical problems, as stated in the last paragraph. But even so, a) the picocell should take care of that and b) as far as I know, most cellphone-wielding passengers are not in the cockpit. Proximity is a factor. (Remember the inverse squared law.)

         

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      anomaly, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 4:24am

      Re: it could be a problem

      As commercial aerospace has moved to complete dependence on fly-by-wire, and contemplates replacing cockpit windows with cameras and view screens, the risk of unforeseen interference gets higher, not lower. Those who argue that cell phones "are NOT a problem" are naive at best. Each time a new wireless product comes out, bugs and failures come with it (see iPhone 3G). Who's willing to guarantee that some future phone doesn't cause a a catastrophic systems failure?

       

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        mobiGeek, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 10:09am

        Re: Re: it could be a problem

        You are speaking about something you know very little about. Radio engineering is somewhat more complex than simply "flood the spectrum and take down the plane".

        If it were AT ALL anywhere near that easy, we'd not be hearing about "shoe bombs".

        We'd not be allowed taking ANY form of electronics on the plane whatsoever. Cargo bays would be electromagnetically shielded from the rest of the plane.

         

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          Anonymous of Course, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 10:24am

          Re: Re: Re: it could be a problem

          Speak for yourself. I've designed in-flight
          electronics used in the 747-400, 777 and A-380.

           

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 8th, 2008 @ 6:44pm

    Pfft.

    A lot of the weird stuff coming out of congress makes more sense if you imagine yourself as a congresscritter. "I don't want the guy next to me talking on the phone while I'm trying to read/sleep/whatever. I'll make a law!"

     

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    Anonymous of Course, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 6:54pm

    Not a big problem

    A cell phone set off the bathroom smoke
    detector in one incident. I chalk that
    up to lousy smoke detector design.

    In another incident a CD player upset some
    navigation equipment. So it's not like they
    positively can't cause a problem. But the
    problems would be small and easy to overcome.
    The pico cell would solve (I'm guessing)
    another problem that occurs when the plane
    is in the air.

    Overall I agree with the first poster.
    The in-flight phone rates are insane and
    it's all about the revenue. Though they
    don't take laptops, cd players, radios and
    so forth away and these devices have
    demonstrated ability to cause problems
    with "sensitive aircraft electronics" which
    I suppose to be receivers.

     

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      mobiGeek, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 10:11am

      Re: Not a big problem

      Please cite some sources. There haven't been any "interference" issues from consumer electronics in quite some time and I've never heard of a single incident that raised any such concern.

      As the article points out, this is NOT about technology. This is about etiquette and/or airlines attempts to control revenue streams.

       

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        Anynoymous of Course, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 11:01am

        Re: Re: Not a big problem

        Apparently you haven't been reading Aviation Week
        & Space Technology and Air Safety Week for the
        last two decades.

        Some of the latest testing is here...
        http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAPAP2003_03.pdf
        You will notice there were issues. Being done
        in the UK they did not test using all of the
        US cell phone bands. They also didn't test
        enough configurations of aircraft to say there
        will be no problem from use of cell phones in US
        Aircraft. We're talking life safety, it's no time
        to fool around or take a guess that it's OK.

        Need more? Try this...
        http://tinyurl.com/6jv374

        And some more reports of interference...
        http://tinyurl.com/5braa7

        Or find a copy of Air Safety Week, June 7, 1999
        for a long article about problems with navigation
        equipment caused by consumer electronics brought
        onto aircraft.

        The senate bill isn't about technology but the
        FAA has the final word. The FCC has something
        to say about it too. So the senate bans something
        that is already banned... BFD. Par for the course,
        a do nothing bill. But wait, there must be something
        more to it. Recently there was discussion about lifting
        the ban on cell phone use on aircraft in flight. So
        who stands to gain and who loses if the ban is lifted?

        As far as avionics are concerned, you are woefully
        misinformed. Go back to sleep or watching Myth Busters
        or whatever you were doing.

        Additionally you did not read all of my post, or failed
        to understand it, and missed my point. The known problems
        could easily be fixed. It IS about revenue. The etiquette
        arguement is also a diversion.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 12:53pm

          Re: Re: Re: Not a big problem

          Some of the latest testing is here...
          http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAPAP2003_03.pdf
          A rigged test from five years ago and some unconfirmed anecdotes. A lot of people have reported being abducted by aliens too but that's not very convincing either.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 1:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a big problem

            prove that the test was rigged...you post no proof, just accusations.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 2:38pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a big problem

              prove that the test was rigged...you post no proof, just accusations.
              I post an opinion based on actually reading the report. If you had bothered to do the same before popping off you would have seen that these tests were not carried out on actual aircraft but were instead carried out on setups rigged up just for this supposed "test".

               

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            Anonymous of Course, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 1:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a big problem

            It's called a mock up, one step closer to reality
            than a computer model and the result is data. You
            can dismiss the rest as anecdotal if you wish. On
            the other side of the argument you have feelings
            and opinions which all add up to- zero!

            Hmmm. Data, albeit with flaws, vs some clod's opinion...
            Wow! You're right! Cell phone use during flight
            could never cause any sort of problem! Your cogent
            argument has as certainly convinced me.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 3:27pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a big problem

              It's called a mock up...
              It's called a poor mock up.
              ...one step closer to reality than a computer model
              That is not necessarily true (and you have now shown that you really don't know what you're talking about). Whether a mock up is a better model that a computer simulation depends on the fidelity of the mock up and the simulation. A good computer simulation can be much closer to reality than a poor mock up.
              ...and the result is data.
              The result of this rigged test was invalid data.
              On the other side of the argument you have feelings and opinions which all add up to- zero!
              I didn't express any "feelings" in my comment and my opinion was based on a reading of the referenced material.
              Hmmm. Data, albeit with flaws...
              OK, so you admit the data you referenced is flawed.
              ...vs some clod's opinion...
              I was kind of waiting for someone to say something stupid like that. It just so happens that I'm an electrical engineer with experience in the design of instrumentation systems and with a special emphasis on noise reduction. I even took optional courses in that area during my degree studies (University of Texas). But a reader shouldn't need to know that in order read the references you linked to and to see that my nontechnical comment about them was true.
              Your cogent argument has as certainly convinced me.
              I think an argument that rests on the facts is much more compelling than one that resorts to name calling as yours has. And the fact is that cell phones are used in private aircraft of all sorts everyday and have yet to cause any significant problems.

               

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                Anonymous of Course, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 2:29pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a big problem

                I've designed electronic circuits for military navigation
                systems, ECL main frame computers, biomedical electronics,
                down-hole instrumentation, high power pulse generation,
                linear accelerators and much more. I've been responsible
                for signal integrity and standards compliance as well as
                circuit design on numerous projects... advancing the
                crumbling edge of technology for over 30 years.

                Been there, done that, bought a house in the country
                with the money.

                You wrote:
                "I think an argument that rests on the facts is much more compelling than one that resorts to name calling as yours has. And the fact is that cell phones are used in private aircraft of all sorts everyday and have yet to cause any significant problems."

                I see. You discount anecdotal data unless it fits your
                point of view. There are no facts here, where is your
                supporting data? The qualifier "significant" renders
                your argument suspect and subjective, it is a weasel word.

                I call them like I see them.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 3:30pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a big problem

                  I've designed electronic circuits...
                  And you haven't even earned and engineering degree? Hmmm. Why not? Some of the statements you've made are inconsistent with what I could believe could come from an engineer. Specifically, I can't believe that any qualified engineer would believe that any mock up would necessarily be more accurate than any simulation. This makes me question your honesty.

                  You discount anecdotal data unless it fits your point of view. There are no facts here, where is your supporting data? The qualifier "significant" renders your argument suspect and subjective, it is a weasel word.
                  OK, I'll bite.

                  First, I don't think "anecdotal" means what you think it means. Look it up. I made an observation of a current situation, that's not an anecdote. And anyone else is free to make their own observation to confirm or disprove it.

                  Second, if you think the word "significant" is a weasel word here then I challenge you to provide an example of any problem that a cell phone has created on a private aircraft. Remember, FAA rules only prohibit cellphone usage on commercial aircraft so there should lots of examples from private aircraft, right? Go ahead, let's just see the magnitude of the problems you're talking about.

                   

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                    Anonymous of Course, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 11:24am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a big problem

                     

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                      Anonymous of Course, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 11:33am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a big problem

                      I never said I didn't earn a degree.
                      You never said you have any experience.
                      Have you designed any electronics for
                      aircraft and seen the product though
                      production? No, I thought not.

                      Your observation is to me second hand,
                      unverified and anecdotal. Again I ask
                      show me the data. But you can't.

                      I never said a mock-up was more accurate
                      than /any/ simulation.

                      I get it... You're a troll, I took the
                      bait.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 1:47pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a big problem

                        I never said I didn't earn a degree.
                        Well then, did you? You sure are avoiding the issue. (And no, non-engineering degrees don't count for engineering). But from your statements I doubt that you have such training.
                        You never said you have any experience.
                        Wrong again. Try reading what I wrote and note the part about "experience in the design of instrumentation systems and with a special emphasis on noise reduction".
                        Have you designed any electronics for aircraft and seen the product though production?
                        Why, yes, I have. Military systems in particular.
                        No, I thought not.
                        Wrong again and par for the course.
                        Your observation is to me second hand, unverified and anecdotal.
                        You still haven't looked up that word "anecdotal" have you? An inability to learn is another sign that you're not an engineer. And if you believe that my observation that there are no existing reports of significant problems relating to the use of cell phones in private aircraft is "unverified" then I again invite you cite such reports. Your continued failure to do so leads me to believe that you can't.
                        Again I ask show me the data. But you can't.
                        Why, that's just exactly what I've been asking you to do. If those reports of problems with cell phones in private aircraft exist then cite them. I've been pointing out the lack of such data and you're the who's been refusing to provide it.
                        I never said a mock-up was more accurate than /any/ simulation.
                        You said "It's called a mock up, one step closer to reality than a computer model and the result is data." No competent engineer would make such a broad unqualified statement. It's stupid. It all depends on the mock up and the simulation and such a broad statement is easily disproved. I've definitely seen mock ups that were further from reality than simulations.
                        I get it... You're a troll, I took the bait.
                        There you go with the name calling again. And you "get it"? Apparently not. You popped off when you didn't really know what you were talking about and got slapped down. But still, I don't think you "get it" and probably never will.

                         

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    Dave, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 7:32pm

    Etiquette?

    People develop their own etiquette? Like not using it in movie theatres?

    I trust people to be rude and obnoxious and self-centred. Sure, 99.9% of the population would be nice about it. That leaves roughly 1 a**hole on every few flights. And as I fly a lot, I'd hate to have to sit next to one.

     

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      Gears of Peace, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 8:39pm

      Re: Etiquette?

      Exactly. Cell phones are allowed on the subway, and if yelling into their cellphones at extreme volume, oblivious to the other riders is developing their own etiquette, then yeah :p

       

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      IanK, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 7:09am

      Re: Etiquette?

      I'm a Ph.D. student, and I'm writing up my thesis in the library. To be specific, I'm writing up my thesis in an area designed for students to work, so there's a huge cluster of students sitting in these areas, trying to do work. You'd be surprised at how many people speak at normal volume on their mobile phone. It's an occurrence that happens not once a day, but nearly 5 times per day.

      I don't trust people to be courteous, and if 5 people per long-haul flight were to speak at normal volume, the

      These "tests" are cute, but it's not real life. This is from someone who does research related to medicine and cancer. Just because it works in a fake experiment, or in one real experiment involving people, doesn't mean dick all.

       

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      Pat, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 10:24am

      Re: Etiquette?

      How many crying babies does it take to ruin a flight? Would you actually trust people not to be rude and talk quietly on their cell phones? Have you ever eaten at a restaurant where the person three tables away from you feels entitled to speak at any level desired, regardless of the folks seated in the area? I guess I have little faith in mankind's etiquette and respect for others. Cell-phone free flights are common sense.

       

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        mobiGeek, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 8:22pm

        Re: Re: Etiquette?

        So let's ban babies on flights too. They are a nuisance.

        Oh, and let's ban personal music players, because people play those with the volume too loud.

        Oh, and let's ban people wearing perfume because that can be obnoxious (I don't really like any perfumes at all).

        So why exactly are we not banning all these "socially nuisances" but we decide that a cellphone is a major problem requiring government intervention?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 9:07pm

          Re: Re: Re: Etiquette?

          While you're banning things in the air, add these to the list:
          1. Firearms
          2. Smoking
          3. Sex (including masturbation)
          4. Paintball games
          3. Campfires
          4. Livestock (to be cooked over those campfires)

          See what happens when you start banning things? You take all the fun out of flying!

           

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            mobiGeek, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 1:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Etiquette?

            I hope you would agree that there are differences between things that have the potential to be a nuisance and things that have the potential to cause physical harm?

            As for the sex thing, I don't completely agree with laws restricting that either. I understand why they exist (unlike the cellphone ban), but I don't necessarily agree with their premise.

             

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 7:34pm

    Not really...

    The telegraph article says it costs 2 Euro per minute to call from the test flights. If I was paying that much per minute I would definitely try to keep it short or even more likely wait until I was on the ground. I think the behavior would change a lot if people were paying standard non roaming rates.

     

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    Nelson, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 7:43pm

    law? are you serious?

    its seems that almost every law the congress passes moves us farther and farther from the free market that we are supposed to be. why not just let the free market play it out? this definitely should not be a law. if an airline allows in flight cell phones, and you don't want to talk or listen to somebody talk, don't fly that airline. airlines could offer cell phone flights and non-cell phone flight (similar to smoking and non-smoking) they could even add a no cell phone light next to the no smoking light and things would just be dandy.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 9:35pm

      Re: law? are you serious?

      Why not just let the passengers bring baseball bats on board and settle it themselves? Problem solved.

       

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      Anon, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 11:40pm

      Re: law? are you serious?

      Sorry there is nothing in the constitution guaranteeing you a free market, or cellphone coverage either for that matter.

      If you want both on planes I wish you luck with your pursuit of happiness as every obnoxious a--hole on the plane starts yacking away because they are bored.

      Besides, it will only take the first cellphone (or WiFi for that matter) activated bomb to bring down a plane and you'll realize what a huge mistake it was in the first place.

       

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        crazyturk, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 8:45am

        Re: Re: law? are you serious?

        .... all I can say is DUMBASS
        a cell phone ban would not prevent someone from using a cellphone activated bomb...
        I'm going to assume someone who's ok with breaking the law for say BLOWING UP A FREAKING PLANE is ok with added cellphone violation penalty...

        seriously, people at least TRY to think before you post

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 7:05pm

        Re: Re: law? are you serious?

        Besides, it will only take the first cellphone (or WiFi for that matter) activated bomb to bring down a plane and you'll realize what a huge mistake it was in the first place.

        Or timer activated. That's why alarm clocks and watches are banned on airplanes, isn't it? Not.

         

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    Colin Clifford, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 7:46pm

    Cell Phones on Planes

    Cell phone use on planes would be annoying and that is reason enough to ban them. If the guy next to me gets to bring & use his cell phone, then I want to bring and use my gun.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 8:24pm

      Re: Cell Phones on Planes

      yeah, a gun = cell phone.
      get your head checked pal.
      just because someone is annoying doesn't mean we need a law. If that were the case, there would be a law against your post. It annoys me.

       

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      VMD, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 8:16am

      Re: Cell Phones on Planes

      ..besides - we all know that if you place enough cellphones around an egg you can cook it! it's true - it's all over interwebs! how can i feel safe if a guy on my left is cooking his head?! the only way to be safe is to have Colin with his trusty 45 nearby!!

       

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    Cells on a Plane (Th Movie), Aug 8th, 2008 @ 7:52pm

    You, sir, are an idiot. A non-cell phone and a cell phone flight. You should run for congree yourself.

    It should not be a law. It would be challenged on the freedom of speech. Airlines need to require at least some quiet time on all flights if cell phones are allowed.

    And my PC speakers buzz and vibrate EVERY time my AT&T phone on the 3G network rings. Do we really want pilots having that kind of interference in their comm systems? Or possible interference in other systems.

    Shut up. Sit back and read a book. Almost everyone talks louder when they're conversing on a phone. There is already enough aggravation in air travel. Please don't open up the path for ratchetjawed people to invade my brain. Please no.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 9:39pm

      Re:

      And my PC speakers buzz and vibrate EVERY time my AT&T phone on the 3G network rings.
      Maybe you should get that fixed. Mine doesn't do that at all.
      Do we really want pilots having that kind of interference in their comm systems? Or possible interference in other systems.
      I seriously doubt that they're using the same cheap, crappy gear that you probably are.

       

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        Theoden, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 5:47am

        Re:

        Don't forget, AC, the planes are built by the LOWEST BIDDER. Does that sound like "cheap and crappy gear" will be avoided?

         

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          Ex-Cross Country Hopper, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 7:40am

          Re: Re:

          And lets not forget that many of the planes in use today are still using antiquated equipment. This equipment is not always designed to block out interference caused by today's modern electronics.

           

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            Tom, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 7:50am

            Re: Re: Re:

            Actually that's not true. There was a report in Popular Mechanics about that myth and they found that even the clunkers from the 50's weren't affected by cell phone signals. Hell they even covered this on Mythbusters.

             

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              Riddle me this, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 9:14am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: (Tom)

              Actually that's not true. There was a report in Popular Mechanics about that myth and they found that even the clunkers from the 50's weren't affected by cell phone signals. Hell they even covered this on Mythbusters.

              Maybe that works for what was tested-- "Popular" cell phones and on American/European frequencies. What your failing to realize is that there is a wide variation in air interfaces- 3G and upcoming 4G network types. There's also variation between even models from manufacturers. None of this has been a requirement for equipment approval (FAA) on planes.

              So what happens? Some visiting person from another country powers up their odd-frequency new 5G phone on a plane, something reputable Mythbusters or Popular Mechanics didn't test, and it mucks up recieving of navigation beacons, or otherwise. That proverbial visitor didn't know-- The frequencies used in the home country were set by their government. Next, this plane falls out of the sky. Who gets sued?

              If SuperPicoCell company wants to test and certify individual manufacturers and models, and guarantee insurance payouts, there may be a chance. Until then, it makes sense that people can get to their destination safely. Am I wrong?

               

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                mobiGeek, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 10:17am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Tom)

                Banning cell phones is not going to take away from this mythical problem you claim exists. And realize that this law doesn't stop cell phones from coming ON TO the airplane, it simply interferes with people's abilities (rights?) while they are confined to the dullness of airline travel.

                If cell phones and other electronics were truly a risk, then why are they allowed on a plane AT ALL?

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 10:24am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Tom)

                So what happens? Some visiting person from another country powers up their odd-frequency new 5G phone on a plane, something reputable Mythbusters or Popular Mechanics didn't test, and it mucks up recieving of navigation beacons, or otherwise.
                AS someone else already pointed out, that kind of "reasoning" could apply to any electronic device. For example, someone "might" come up with some kind of "odd" new electronic wristwatch that could do the same. So would you say that we should also ban electronic wrist watches from planes?
                Until then, it makes sense that people can get to their destination safely. Am I wrong?
                You are being alarmist and are wrong.

                 

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                crazyturk, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 9:19am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Tom)

                so as long as someone gets paid, in your eyes it's OK if the plane goes down? Love these people, keep em coming

                 

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 11:10am

        Re: Re:

        "Maybe you should get that fixed. Mine doesn't do that at all."

        That's probably because you aren't using an AT&T or T-Mobile phone. It's a feature of GSM technology.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 11:20am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I use a 3g phone, and either mine is odd in the fact that it works, or yours is odd in the fact that it doesn't work.

           

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        another anonymo, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 12:14pm

        Re: Re: PC speakers buzz

        you are really really daft and stupid, interference of magnetic-based speakers by radio waves does not depend on cost or quality of the speakers and cannot be "fixed" - it is a radio-magnetic fact. You can have expensive and high quality bose or bang&olufsens and your speakers can still be distorted by radio waves from cell phones, dumbass, the guy was just informing us all of another fact and you critique his speakers? Imagine if the PA system on a flight got constantly zinged by all the phone calls?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 4:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: PC speakers buzz

          you are really really daft and stupid,
          Name calling really does nothing to prove your supposed point.

          interference of magnetic-based speakers by radio waves does not depend on cost or quality of the speakers and cannot be "fixed" - it is a radio-magnetic fact.
          The proper term is electromagnetic due to the fact that the fields involved have both electrostatic and magnetodynamic components. You should know that if you had ever studied electromagnetics so I guessing that you haven't and so don't know what you're talking about. And problems of electromagnetic interference can't be fixed? Well, that is just not true and only further demonstrates ignorance of the subject.

          the guy was just informing us all of another fact and you critique his speakers?
          The guy was trying to use his experience with his PC speakers as some kind proof about cell phones on planes which is absurd. It really takes a special kind of arrogance to go popping off ignorant statements about a highly technical field when you know very little about it.

          Imagine if the PA system on a flight got constantly zinged by all the phone calls?
          Imagination seems to be all you have.

           

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    Glenn Davey, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 7:54pm

    Why only planes?

    Let's ban phone use on other forms of transport too. Long-distance trains. Heck, even short-distance metro trains. Trams (here in Melbourne, Australia), buses, ferries... they could all be cell-phone free!

    Sure, let's restrict everyone's personal freedoms everywhere, so no-one has to be bothered by anyone else, anywhere, ever.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 1:06pm

      Re: Why only planes?

      Wow, I didn't know there was an inherent right to yap on a phone...Why can't I go naked where ever I want? Why can't I buy porn off of store shelf instead of having to get it from behind the counter? If I have a certified concealed carry permit, why am I not allowed to carry a hand gun where I want?

      There are plenty of things we can not do because someone decided we shouldn't be able to...

       

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      Kyle, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 7:54am

      Re: Why only planes?

      well freakin said. I love it!

       

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    lazloman, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 8:42pm

    Its not safety...

    ...its a nuisance. Can you imagine even 5 percent of the people on a flight using their cell phones? It would be crazy!

     

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      mobiGeek, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 10:19am

      Re: Its not safety...

      Why?

      And how is it any different than people having cell phones on other forms of transit (metro trains, rail cars, buses, etc...)

      Wouldn't the first few instances of such nuisances, being covered by CNN and Fox ('cause you know they will), cause extravagant cellphone use to become a social stigma?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 8:43pm

    what is really sad is that the congress, er congrASS is trying to pass this law, yet i see lots of photos of congress flying on their own private jets while talking on a cell phone, heck Obama just had a photo like this floating around.

    so once again congress tries to control us with laws and rules they dont have to follow

     

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    Clueby4, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 9:08pm

    Cell phone use etiquette ?

    Cell phone users developing etiquette?!? You can't possibly be that obtuse!?! Just look as some of the arrogant posts to this article, they quite effectively demonstrate the etiquette they have developed is simply "I'm more important then everyone else". Some even get more ignorant and parade the fairytale concept of "free market". The fact of the situation is that you're not alone on the airplane, and flapping about how your "freedom" is being oppressed is as sound of an argument as the gun analogy used in a previous post, which I think was the point the poster was implying.

    Using the flawed logic of spontaneously generated etiquette, why bother with any laws, regulations, etc. People would develop their own etiquette for not; stealing, murdering, raping, etc, Right?

    If you want to pointlessly flap on your cell phone buy your own plane, otherwise STFU!

     

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      mobiGeek, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 10:29am

      Re: Cell phone use etiquette ?

      So you support banning people's behaviours based on anecdotal evidence that such behaviour causes a nuisance?

      If so, I have a bunch of web forums I think we should get banned...oh, and a few 24 hr infotainment channels that shouldn't be allowed to be viewed.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 9:25pm

    ....

    Any your grass clippings make my nose itch. Ban mowing grass.

     

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    Ex-Cross Country Hopper, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 9:35pm

    Why Cell Phones should not be on Airplanes. . .

    First off, I'm going to talk from experience here. I used to hop around the country sometimes taking 2-3 flights a day. I've seen stuff that would make most people cringe. . .

    Here's the deal. As people that are constantly on the move, many times taking a flight is the ONLY respite we get when it comes to always being connected to our business. It's actually restful not to have to worry about phone calls while your in mid-flight.

    Now you want to take our solace!? Our peace and quiet?!

    I don't care what the article says about people making their own edicate rules and trying to be curteous. This example that they give doesn't represent the WHOLE. There was still some a-hole talking on the phone on some flight that was ignorant of how much they are inconveniencing the guy next to them.

    And sure, it's just 1 a-hole out of 100, but in 3-4 years it's 15 a-holes out of 100. Again, lifting this ban ruins my quiet and solace that I find on a plane. In many cases it's the only time during the day that we as the roaming sales force that spends so much of our time out and abroad get to relax during out day. No phone service. No one breathing down my back wondering why I'm not being more productive at 30,000 feet.

    Take your cell phone and stuff'em.....in your carry-on.

     

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      crazyturk, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 8:55am

      Re: Why Cell Phones should not be on Airplanes. . .

      Man, the more I read the more I reply...

      Taking your solace and your peace and quiet... where the hell did you take a wrong turn in life that your plane rides are your solace and peace and quiet... your in a metal can strapped to gigantic plane engines... want my advice... prolly not but here it is... NOISE CANCELATION HEADPHONES... or good old EAR PLUGS... problem solved...

      BTW, I think your due for a career change, at your pace the millions of dollars your trying to earn hopping 3 flights a day (which if your not earning millions why are you flying so much, are going to be enjoyed by your survived family when you have a heart attack @ age 45
      good riddance

       

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    Ex-Cross Country Hopper, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 9:41pm

    Cell phones and interference.

    Cell phones, frs radios and all sorts of other electronics can cause interference with PC speakers. Maybe you've never experienced it but it does happen. I really depends on the shielding on the speakers and how dirty the radio is on the device that's causing the interference.

    I would believe what they were sharing about the cell phone causing radio interference on some of those airplane radios. Some of that equipment that is in that cockpit can be quite old. Not every plane gets updated with the latest in navigational electronics.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 12:43am

      Re: Cell phones and interference.

      Cell phones, frs radios and all sorts of other electronics can cause interference with PC speakers. Maybe you've never experienced it but it does happen.
      I've got some headphones that I use with my PC and sometimes when I lean back in my chair it interferes with them and I hear static. OH NO! BAN RECLINING SEATS IN AIRPLANES BEFORE THEY ALL CRASH! MY PC JUST PROVED IT COULD HAPPEN!

       

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        Ex-Cross Country Hopper, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 7:37am

        Re: Re: Cell phones and interference.

        No, you just got cheap ass headphones :)

        My comment on radio equipment and speakers was in response to other people stating that it wasn't possible for this to happen.

        Again, my biggest concern is that I just want my peace and quiet (or as much as I can get on a plane) and not have to deal with people talking overly loud on a phone since they got the cheap seats next to the engines.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 10:27am

          Re: Re: Re: Cell phones and interference.

          My comment on radio equipment and speakers was in response to other people stating that it wasn't possible for this to happen.
          I don't see where anybody here said that.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 9:46pm

    Laws?

    Laws? What laws? We don't need no stinkin' laws! Freedom is being able to do whatever you want! All you whining liberal democrats wussies want to do is take away my freedom!

     

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    Tee, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 3:06am

    Re: Cell phones and interference

    Why not have each airline pass out noise canceling headphones on every flight. You won't hear anyone around you right? And I'm sure the airlines would charge $5 a pair for the flight...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 10:30am

      Re: Re: Cell phones and interference

      Why not have each airline pass out noise canceling headphones on every flight.

      Because then you can't hear and obey the commands of the flight crew.

       

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    Wolferz (profile), Aug 9th, 2008 @ 3:10am

    The real issue with cellphone interfearance.

    I won't deny that it would be more profitable for the various air travel companies if they didn't have to compete with cellphones on flights. It is certainly reasonable to think that one of the reasons, if not the main reason, they want this is just that, limiting their competition.

    However, to say that cellphone interference being dangerous enough to warrant a federal ban is silly... might be stretching things a bit.

    In a given plane, the data and instrumentation cables and all the panels and sensitive equipment is shielded. It is reasonable, *assuming* all planes are in perfect condition, to say that it is silly to think cellphones will interfere with the plane. A Boeing 747 has a maximum passenger allotment of 524 people. The new Airbus A380 can carry up to 853 passengers. That's a lot of lives depending on an assumption that, historically, has proven absurd.

    Almost all of the major plane crashes involving large aircraft over the last 4 decades have been the result of maintenance issues with the aircraft. Damaged joints. Rusted structural supports. Leaky fuel lines. Improperly calibrated instrumentation. Faulty wiring. Etc. Historically speaking large passenger jets are poorly maintained. Not all of them. Not most of them. Not really even enough to say "some of them." It's really just a handful of them. Just 524-853 passengers worth roughly 2-3 times a decade. How's that for perspective?

    Now let's say the year is 2014. An airbus that has been in service with 2007 is on a routine Trans-Atlantic flight from Dubai to New York. Unknown to the maintenance crews and the cabin crew and the pilots and the passengers on board a single cable carrying information from instrumentation at the rear of the plane has slowly been weakening over the 7 years of the planes service. As the plane passes over land for the last time until New York a business professional calls his wife to let her know he will be out of cellphone range for a while. The call is short and to the point and goes off without a hitch.

    The Airbus continues on and makes it's flight across the Atlantic. However as it approaches the east coast of the states it gets caught in a fairly rough, but none the less manageable storm. The turbulence from which finally damages the shielding enough to expose the cable. This in and of itself does not pose an issue. However as the storm abates the passengers including our business professional looks out to see they are approaching land. Our business professional places his cellphone call to tell his wife he will be home soon. Again it is a short call and goes off without a hitch... however unknown to every one on board it also confuses the instrumentation. 30 minutes later all that is left of the plane and it's 800 some odd passengers is burning wreckage in the middle of a JFK Airport runway.

    Is this improbable? Yes. But then so was what happened to Apollo 13. So was what happened in many of the accidents and crashes that have happened over the years. In almost each case the problem could have been avoided with rigorous maintenance and a refusal to send old decrepit planes back into service. But hey, 500 people here 800 people there, no big deal right?

    If banning cellphones on planes prevents even one such accident, even if we never know about it and even if it gives the various air travel companies a monopoly, I say its worth it.

    Oh and that's not even counting all the smaller aircraft that travel from smaller airports to larger ones in connecting flights. The maintenance and safety records for those are outright atrocious.

     

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      moe, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 5:03am

      Re: The real issue with cellphone interfearance.

      Congratulations! You wrote a long, blustery post in an attempt to show how intelligent you are.

      Unfortunately, you can't read and your opus is completely off-topic.

      From TFA: "the potential ban has absolutely nothing to do with the technology issues related to using mobiles on airplanes. It's entirely about the etiquette/annoyance issue."

       

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        Wolferz (profile), Aug 9th, 2008 @ 8:46am

        Re: Re: The real issue with cellphone interfearance.

        Nether the fact that the proposed ban is not for this purpose nor the fact that my post was long changes whether or not my facts are correct nor whether my analysis of their implications is valid.

        And yes I can and did read the article. Regardless of what the ban is about it would achieve the same goal. As some one who actually is *mildly* intelligent I understand that a good thing achieved for the wrong reasons is still a good thing.

         

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          mobiGeek, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 8:31pm

          Re: Re: Re: The real issue with cellphone interfearance.

          a good thing achieved for the wrong reasons is still a good thing

          *shudder*
          Please, look beyond the immediacy of the achieved "good thing"...

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 10:44am

      Re: The real issue with cellphone interfearance.

      Is this improbable? Yes.

      Improbable to the point of absurdity even.

      ...I say its worth it.

      I get the feeling that you'd say almost anything. In a world full of people thinking like that airplanes would be banned completely, along with automobiles, knives and anything else with which anything could possibly go injuriously wrong.

       

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      crazyturk, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 9:05am

      Re: The real issue with cellphone interfearance.

      Buddy,
      Don't even leave your house... there is an 98 cellica down the street with faulty wiring that as soon as the punk teenager starts it up this morning and runs over the curb will bruise the wiring harness sending a false signal to the injector rather then the abs system resulting in speeding into your now lifeless body rather then stopping before you as you cross the street...
      on second thought, go a head, cross the street, one less paranoid f### off the streets

       

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    Joe, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 3:18am

    This is pure sophistry. It ignores the fact that there are real-time "tests" going on all the time on buses and trains.

    Only a few days ago there was a shouting match on the #23 bus that crosses Manhattan on the street of the same name. After enduring 15 minutes of relentless and loud droning by a thoughtless fool, passengers around him erupted in frustration and anger. When I got off at my stop the mutual name calling and shouting was continuing.

    This scenario is repeated all over the city, every day. If and when phones can be used in the subway, it will spread there.

    And please don't give me some class bias nonsense that business people on a plane will be more considerate. You only have to ride the expensive Acela between Boston and Washington to hear the same ignorant abuse of other people's right to silence.

    One of these days, someone is going to be killed over cell phone rage.

     

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    MG, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 4:16am

    And Taxis drivers too

    While we solve social implications of Human noise pollution, can we add Taxi drivers who may (or may not) say hello then immediately pick up and use their cell phones till they reach your destination. That should definitely be outlawed in 'all' States (dangerous and annoying).

    If cell phone use ever makes it to the air, the Sprint/Nextel service should always be banned with that awful squawk it performs for the push-to-annoy service.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 10:45am

      Re: And Taxis drivers too

      It is my understand that taxi regulations in many places already prohibit that conduct.

       

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    Dana, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 5:13am

    cell phones on planes

    The whole ban on cell phones on planes is due to the FAA regs for IFR flight only. All wireless electronics send a signal that can interfere with IFR equipment and cause them to not respond correctly.This is due to interference with navigation equipment that is very sensitive and only used in IFR flight.(Instrument Flight Rules). Since airliners fly at IFR only flight levels where all these instruments are used. Do you want to take a chance on your flight captain not reading signals correctly and the pilot depending on that info to land the plane in bad or obscured weather??
    It is annoying having to follow rules but there is a reason that makes sense. It is my understanding that the air phone system uses a different frequency than cell phones and does not interfere with nav equipment. Why take the chance. Take a break and enjoy the ride. Why do we need to always be on the phone?

     

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    Robert Baker, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 5:36am

    No, you're right, there probably is no technical reason that should prevent mobile phone use on planes.

    But we can all attest to the FACT that on the ground today most people are no where close to developing their own etiquette for keeping quiet and not pissing off other people NOT using cell phones. Social pressure, so far, can NOT handle most of the scenarios of people talking nonsense into their phones to keep their friends aware of their every movement!

     

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    Michael G., Aug 9th, 2008 @ 5:39am

    Please...

    Quiet down, I'm on the phone.

     

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    yonatron, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 5:53am

    It's not the ban, it's who creates the ban.

    I think a lot of the commenters here are right to disagree with the OP's contention that people will somehow manage to not be annoying when they can use their phones on a plane, but they miss a larger point: It's just plain none of Congress's business.

    I also kinda harbor a hope that in-flight cell use will stay banned, but only if the airlines do it.I prefer not to be annoyed, but I don't think I've a constitutional right to it.

     

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    cap10moe, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 6:15am

    Cell phone use in airplanes

    A considerable number of cell phone users won't display any conformity to etiquette on the ground in public places. How can you expect any conformity to it in a small, confined, high noise environment like an airplane...I say ban them everywhere, except in emergency.

     

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    Nobody Special, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 7:19am

    Its the billing

    The real reason mobile phones are not "allowed" is the billing headache. Imagine a conversation that spanned 4 countries in Europe, with the towers handing off to the next every few seconds. Much easier to ban them by rasining "phoney" technical reasons. Virgin aircraft in Australia have a hump on the fuselage top - its a pico-cell for phones. Therefore they ARE NOT a risk to aircraft systems.

     

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    Tom, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 7:37am

    Freedom is the answer

    Yet again we see that freedom is the answer. We need to scrap this government or severely cut it back. In any situation, allowing people to be free is the best answer, and it always works. Let the airlines decide what the best policy is for their customers, there's a novel concept.

    (note: freedom also applies to many other political issues, and the right answer is always: the government shouldn't be involved.)

     

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    MissingFrame, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 8:35am

    Banning poor behavior?

    I'm glad everyone is so much on board with making bad behavior illegal. Next up, picking your nose, scratching your private parts, and babies crying.

     

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    r0cksinp0ckets, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 8:46am

    illusion ...delusion.. imagine...

    There are those who think ...

    and those who don't....those on autopilot completely obsessed with "self".. me me me , what I want .. what is important to me, don't repress me, I am free to do what I want..say what I want..think what I want....

    think??? If only..
    the vast majority of people born in the "commercial" first world have been programmed since birth to consume.. their god given right... Are you a victim of corporate / telco brainwashing?

    Ponder this..
    10 years ago.. how many had a mobile phone
    15 years ago?

    You still had a business.. you still communicated with friends and family, sure, it wasn't spur of the moment, at the touch of your fingertips.. but it still happened.

    Modern communication technology has been a boon to both business and personal relationships.. Some here have stated they are "free" because they can "make a phone call"..
    Are you so free when the boss calls you at 9pm...7am.
    while you are asleep,
    showering,
    having sex?
    Are you so free you can afford not to go to work to earn the money to pay the bill to use your phone..

    I doubt there are many reading this blog who are sooooooo important.. that they could not go without being contacted for a few hours... The world still continues without a phone..

    I live in Australia.. I run a business in media.. I love my phone... If I fly overseas.. I am offline for 8 to 26 hours.. When I get off the plane...
    the business is still there..
    the family..
    my friends...
    and I have had time to reconnect with ... myself..

    You are not your phone...

     

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    R. Alexander, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 9:12am

    Confused

    Well, I fly a lot, as many of you do. What I notice is confusing. As soon as the cabin door is closed for departure, you must disable, turn off, ALL electronic devices. Including Laptops, Mp3 players and such. The 'policy' is under the ruse that they cause radios and nav equipment to go haywire. Then why is it EVER safe to have them on? Why at 10k feet can you turn them back on? Next Question: Why must you turn off your cell phone as soon as the cabin door is shut? Lot's of times, as you know, it could still be hours before you take off. BUT, they allow you to turn it on as soon as you land. Humm, they don't use radios to talk to the tower on the ever-important taxi to the gate? As a non-commerical pilot I can assure you, after landing you are very busy on the radio as well. Cell phones only interfere with radios if you are outbound? Inbound not so much? Makes no sense.

     

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    ThinkCube, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 9:59am

    Really? It's about Etiquette?

    I was always under the impression this was banned due to technical difficulties. Has this always been an Etiquette thing? From doing a little looking currently it's the FAA that bans the phones usage not the government and now it's the government that's trying to put it into law. No doubt that Rep. Peter DeFazio who introduced the bill had a bad time on a flight and just wants to do something to get his name mentioned. Personally I'm more concerned with the fact that Congress is wasting time with such a bill. Is this not the perfect example of whats wrong with this country. Please congress get your act together, your killing this country. Back on subject of people clammering away on phones in a packed plane. First of all how low are your planes flying because recently on a trip to Vegas I turned on my phone just to see if I could get a signal. It wasn't even possible to make a call if I wanted to. I don't think a cell phone could effectively track and hand off towers at 600+ mph. I personally think this ban was born out of fear of cell phones when they were a new thing and the FAA didn't know if it would make a technical difference of not so error on safety. I'm sure as technology gets better it probably won't be a problem with a few phones in calls. Put an entire plane in calls and maybe some kind of Electro Mag field could be generated I guess. Why take the chance. your longest flight in America is about 5 hours in air and you can talk all the way to take off and immediately after landing. Basically planes are loud and people would yell on the phone. I know you all have an aunt, uncle , father , mother or who ever that yells when they are on their cell phone. Imagine them in a loud airplane and they can't hear because their ears are popping. Again, as a business person in constant communication with work I welcome the couple of hours of my phone not ringing. In general congress should get off the subject and leave it back to the FAA. If the phones being on and used don't matter technically then texting and email is good enough. As for young people in support of using cell phones. Well enough was said at the mention of the word "young" as a descriptor. If society had to count on the young to set the level of etiquette then we are all screwed.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 11:06am

      Re: Really? It's about Etiquette?

      I was always under the impression this was banned due to technical difficulties.
      That was always just an excuse. However, now that cellphones are used on private aircraft everyday without problem that excuse is beginning to wear a little thin.

      Why take the chance.
      You know, the best way to keep an airplane from crashing after takeoff is to never takeoff. Just taxi all the way to the destination. I mean, why take the chance, huh?

       

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        ThinkCube, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 12:28pm

        Re: Re: Really? It's about Etiquette?

        I was always under the impression this was banned due to technical difficulties.

        That was always just an excuse. However, now that cellphones are used on private aircraft everyday without problem that excuse is beginning to wear a little thin.


        Why take the chance.

        You know, the best way to keep an airplane from crashing after takeoff is to never takeoff. Just taxi all the way to the destination. I mean, why take the chance, huh?
        -------------------------------------------------
        Well you sure do have alot to say Mr. Anonymouse.

        Of course you left out the next line or so when I mentioned it was probably because the FAA just didn't trust cell phones at that time. it may be a thin arguement but it's the FAA's playground and you have to follow the rules. I'm assuming your young enough to understand playground rules, right? There is a difference in risk and risky behavior resulting in increased risk. If you don't understand then this discussion is beyond you. I'm sure the FAA knows it's a minimal risk and that it can lift the ban. I'm also sure that they know that the ban on phone usage supports the ramp up in airport/airplane security. Allowing the use and dropping the ban would go against this increase in security and the FAA would have to show that technically it's not an issue. This would result in millions in testing that would trickle through the airlines to your ticket price. Be careful what you ask for. I also seem to remember that the highjackers of 9/11 communicated with cell phones. Kind of goes with the security measure don't you think. It's a volital subject as you can see so why would the FAA open itself to it. Again we are talking about taking minimal risk when flying in a plane that is in it's design perameters physically and technically. Also again when you are talking about taking that marginal risk and add a device that may or may not interfere with the technical specifications of a plane resulting in a crash then WHY TAKE THE RISK.

        Again when speaking of etiquette it simply can't be and shouldn't be regulated by legislation. You're not in free society when you are on a plane. It's the same as being a customer in a place of business and that business has rules you must follow. The FAA has the rule and frankly I support it just because the environment simply does not lend itself to talking on the phone with out great disruption. If the captain comes over the loud speaker and says hey we're going down I would like to hear the instruction without waiting for this anonymous moron to hang up his phone.

        Can't fix stupid.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 5:44pm

          Re: Re: Re: Really? It's about Etiquette?

          it may be a thin arguement but it's the FAA's playground and you have to follow the rules.
          Who said otherwise? Put your strawman away.
          I'm assuming your young enough to understand playground rules, right?
          I'm even mature enough that, unlike you apparently, I don't have to think of things in terms of childish analogs in order to comprehend them.
          I'm sure the FAA knows it's a minimal risk and that it can lift the ban. I'm also sure that they know that the ban on phone usage supports the ramp up in airport/airplane security.
          You certainly seem to be sure of yourself, or should I say full of yourself? Because you certainly don't provide any support for your assertions.

          And where is the evidence you have that cell phones are a security risk? If they are, then why are the installed on-board phones allowed? And if cell phones are a security risk on planes, then couldn't they be so just about everywhere? Do you just want to see cell phones banned entirely?
          I also seem to remember that the highjackers [sic] of 9/11 communicated with cell phones.
          Again, you don't seem to know what you're talking about (surprise, surprise). It was actually some of the passengers who used cell phones on the planes (against the rules) to report on the hijacking.
          Again we are talking about taking minimal risk when flying in a plane that is in it's design perameters [sic] physically and technically.
          Parameters are subject to sudden and unpredictable change (not to mention possible design errors). Again, if you want zero risk in the air then you better just keep the plane on the ground.
          Again when speaking of etiquette it simply can't be and shouldn't be regulated by legislation.
          My city has a noise ordinance. If you are playing loud music than can be heard more than 100 feet from your property you can be issued a citation by the police. Every year many such citations are issued. So much for not being able to legislate "etiquette" and so much for the idea that everyone will practice good "etiquette" willingly. Another example is smoking on planes. It took government regulation to get that stopped. An expectation of "good manners" just didn't do it.
          The FAA has the rule and frankly I support it just because the environment simply does not lend itself to talking on the phone with out great disruption
          And guess what gives that rule authority: Law. Without laws the FAA would have no such authority.

          Now don't get me wrong, I'm in favor of the cell phone ban on scheduled flights. I'm just not in favor of being dishonest about the reasons. When you are strapped into your assigned seat beside some inconsiderate loudmouth phone yakking jerk you cannot just get up and move to a quieter seat. Nor can you legally just take matters into your own hands, so to speak. In such a situation regulations are needed that can be enforced by air crews to avoid feuds between passengers.

           

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    R3d Jack, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 10:06am

    Incredible!

    What next? Ban the in-seat phones? Ban laptops? Earphones? How about banning people talking to each other? Children making noise? Babies crying?
    Why does Congress need to get involved? Can't the airlines handle this themselves?

    Mostly, I don't want to live in a socialist country!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 10:55am

      Re: Incredible!

      What next? ... I don't want to live in a socialist country!

      Yeah, before you know it they'll be wanting to ban handguns and smoking on planes too.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 11:29am

        Re: Re: Incredible!

        and offering government sponsored healthcare for all US citizens...and as Obama proposes, taxing the rich (and retired) by implementing a 27% capital gains tax from real estate sales. imagine the housing market then, when people are stuck with homes and can't afford to sell them

         

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    libertarian, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 11:18am

    This bill is unconstitutional and would be anulled by the Supreme Court the first time it was challenged. Nowhere in the constitution is this allowed for, and therefore should not have even been introduced for debate. The government should not be concerned with legislating etiquette, that is not the point of government, and costs too much money in taxes (that are already too high). The Media needs to hold Rep. DeFazzio responsible for such a wasteful attitude, and poor grasp of his job description (as set forth in the United States Constitution).

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 11:24am

      Re:

      the general welfare clause, duh!! since not being annoyed when you would prefer to sleep is protecting of the general welfare of citizens...although you could challenge them if they offered in-flight phones on Anti-Trust grounds

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 11:36am

    You sure you have the right country? Americans don't have etiquette. Besides people would be shouting to try and hear over the loud roar of the engines even if they really didn't need to that would be their excuse.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 1:23pm

      Re:

      Americans don't have etiquette.

      Your absolutely right! Why is India taking all the jobs?

      It's because they speak The Queen's English! The fact they are cheap as hell is just icing on the cake.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 1:43pm

    I know what happened

    I think big telecom paid Mike huge money to write this. Enjoy your vacation in Bahamas Mike. Call me from the flight.........

     

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    Heather, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 2:10pm

    Courteous travelling

    If a desire to talk and text on your phone about whats on sale at The Gap exceeds the desire to be courteous to others, please drive to your destination.

    For me, it's worth paying a few hundred dollars to get across country in 4 hours.

    Thank you.

     

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    Don Morse, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 2:37pm

    Cell Phones on Airplanes

    clearly the author of this article has never eaten a meal in a restaurant or seen a movie in a public theater. develop their own etiquette my eye. No smoking in public locations works well too I suppose. The public sense of consideration for others nowadays is non existant. On the occasions I have to fly, it's bad enough to have to endure the children running and screaming around, (yes, 5 hours to Hawaii and kids running loose in the 747). The last thing we need is to listen to some self proclaimed playwright carry on a desperate conversation with their agent, or something similar. I purchased a ticket and my quietness does not interfere with anyone else, as opposed to loud, inconsiderate cell phone conversations in a modified aluminum flying beer can.

     

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    randym90, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 3:15pm

    This is insane!

    We already know that cell phones intrude in restaurants, aiport lounges, virtually every public place where they are used. So what good is an "experiment" on board an airplane? To see that this confined uncomfortable place, with lots of people really close at hand is different from all the other places where cell phones intrude? I don't need to do an experiment to see if my bread knife will cut me worse than my straight knife. I know both will cut. No more science need be brought to bear.

    In fact the only possible conclusion from this silly experiment would be that inside an aircraft is the worst possible place for the phone. People try and sleep or read on an airplane, which cannot be said for lots of other public places where the phones annoy.

    No experiment needed.

     

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    Aepple, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 6:07pm

    cell phone Ban

    Cell phones are here to stay, although they seem to be the new cigarette smoking, they connect the world today. I don't like to hear loud conversation by people talking on a cell phone either, there's many things people do in public i don't like at times and some how i just overlook them at the time. Catch more info@ http://TheDare.tk

     

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    Marty the Joker, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 10:00pm

    Inconsiderate Cell Phone Man

    This reminds me of an old commercial.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UIx8QNVZak

     

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    Jason, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 12:06am

    Law no.

    I don't want it to be a law but I would prefer airlines not allow cell phone use on flights.

    I would be happy with wi-fi though.

     

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    Keogh, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 4:16am

    Cell phones on Plane

    Personally, I think they should be banned. Not because of a possibility of interference, but because of the rude people that will use they constantly, talk too loud, and generally just think they must. Went out to eat yesterday, and the where we ate banned cell phone use. It was just a better meal without someone next to you talking so loudly.

     

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    christopherg, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 5:19am

    just let me text

    ok.. if it's etiquette, then just let people text message to their heart's desire. teenagers = happy.. old folks, peace and quiet..

     

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    internet will replace cell phones, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 8:37am

    as stated by some recent articles, some airlines are going to offer in flight internet access. So instead of annoying everyone in the cabin with your cell phone call, why don't you just IM. It would drive me nuts to be on a flight of cell phone calls each person trying to talk over the next. Keep it to internet IM, the talkers get to chat, the people who what peace and quite get it. I'd hate cell phone calls during flight. I could just see mid-flight arguments about talking too loud or waking someone's kid up. What wrong with people if they can't live without a phone for a flight.

    Maybe they can put some phone booths next to the crapers for those who want to talk, and make it sound proof, lol.

     

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    crazyturk, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 8:38am

    I don't fing get the hype... it's all just talk

    I have a question, actually a few...
    Did some of the people not read the article?
    IT"S NOT ABOUT TECHNOLOGICAL PROBLEMS...
    I'll probably get flamed for this, but MythBusters proved cell phones won't bring a plane down. - Discussion over
    I think people are upset about cell-phone users because they themself feel lonely and sad that there is noone that they need to talk to that bad that they have to do it on the plane. Your complaining about someone using a cell phone in a restaurant... why, because you only get half the conversation and it pisses you off that you can't hear the other half... I find that 2 people at the table next to me are generally much louder then the guy over in the corner on his lunch break trying to whisper sweet nothings in his sweety's ear. Same goes for plane passengers, what people aren't allowed to talk on planes... maybe we should have a voice ban on planes... I'll have a petition made and passed around right away (oh go a head an make fun of my spelling skillz). Some of these people freaking get me...
    Are you seriously that lonely that you can't accept that people have reasons to talk to eachother. Think about a busy commuting dad that is wanting to talk to his daughter because she got picked to be tree # 2 for her 1 grade play, or the husband that is flying back home because his wife went into labor. With stupid ass bans such as this propsed one, our right to communicate freely given to us by technology, is being taken away because someone got a 4 dollar a minute revenue stick up their ass. (agreeing with the first post)
    And i'll assume the postition that if you were to, say turn around to the person talking to loud and say, hey bud, I'm sorry to bother you, but I am very tired and wanted to try to sleep, would you mind talking just a little quiter, and did so in a NON-ASSHOLEISH manner... they might just quiet down a little bit... and isn't this the exact same thing you would do if it was a couple people talking loudly behind you? Or would you just bottle it all up and let loose on the web like some of you have just right now?

    GET THE F OVER IT

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 10:57am

    Fucking ban them, all the children crying is bad enough - last thing we need is business snobs acting like they're in an urgent once-in-a-lifetime call every other minute and emo teenagers believing that there is nothing worse than not talking to your loved one.

     

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    rdm, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 12:36pm

    Phones on a Plane?

    Cell Phones in public places are already becoming a nuisance as people speak, many times loudly, in public with their intimates and share unwonted details of relationships, argue, and/or speak mindlessly around others. Having people on a plane speaking loudly on their phones during a flight would leave no peace or privacy to passengers seeking a peaceful trip. Expensive plane phones? Keep them, the price for a call will filter truly urgent calls from chatter and keep the noise level down.

     

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    SM, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 1:15pm

    CELLSPHONES ON PLANES

    Are you out of your mind? Have you ever been stuck on a commuter train with thse idiots who can't get it that the rest of world doesn't want to hear about their pathetic little lives or how unimportant they really are?! Seems everone thinks they have the right to speak as loud as they can (and thus the right to prove they are are a**holes as well).

    If they allow cellphones in planes, in such an enclosed environment where there is no escape, then be prepared for a lot more passenger rage.

    NO NO NO!!!!!!

     

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    Gears of Peace, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 7:08pm

    The problem with airplanes that unlike Movie Theatres, trains, or other public places we can't escape the person next to us for the entire flight. Every other situation there are options. Air travel provides almost zero for passengers.

    Relying on "etiquette" and good manners in this case just seems incredibly naive.

     

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    Anonymous Cowherd, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 7:59pm

    Re: Re: it could be a problem by Brian

    I agree that a cell phone right next to a comm unit is not a hot idea, since they still do make noises over speakers. However, the phone noises I have experienced required that I need to be within a couple feet of a speaker. I'm sure the pilots are aware of this to not keep their cells nearby (or turned off.) Also, I don't know of any currently running airlines that allow passengers into the cockpit.

    On a side note, when I was a bit younger and was aware of how cell phones were no good on planes, I was told that it's because planes passed over cell towers so quickly that phones had a hard time keeping up with all the tower hopping, and that the phones did not necessarily bother the pilots.

     

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    Ben There Done That, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 8:52pm

    Not in my book...

    2 points:
    1. As an airline pilot, I have heard interference from several cell phones over my comm systems, in several different models of planes. Sometimes those phones were my own, the other pilots', or a passengers.

    2. In regards to the comment in the article, " In other words, social pressures can handle most of the worst scenarios without the need for any sort of law that bans it in all situations"....what a load of crap!!! My airline arrests, detains, denies boarding to hundreds of passengers a year...due to actions these clowns have taken on our planes. And you think common courtesy is alive and kicking somewhere out there? I'll take my naps in the back of the airplane in peace thank you...without someone's inane conversation regarding their minute by minute account of how their airplane ride is going, or whatever some of these folks will say to pass their time.

     

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    sodappop, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 10:57pm

    You are freaking crazy

    if you think 100 people talking on cell phones is not a problem. Try riding the bus or train before you say such idiotic things.

     

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    Stephen Bolter, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 1:00am

    The real reason why they don't want cell phone use in planes

    Cell phones talk to the network and hand the signal between towers seamlessly by measuring the signal strength ... as you drive down the motorway,, distance and computer intelligence keep your call running smoothly..

    What happens if you go up in the air ..??

    you get the SAME DISTANCE from lots and lots of towers.... this creates a big processing problem,, which tower should handle that little chat with the wife... the network goes crazy trying to figure out which tower to use ... suppose you are flying over a city you could have all the towers in the city trying to measure your signal and re - distance they are all the same signal strength...
    now add this to between 6 and 8 hundred callers at once like on your big jets .. OK then got the picture... now add 10 Jets into the mix ... this will bring the network to it's knees...

    all this about safety of the electronic's is rubbish..... just recently the Picocell has become available and the trunking chanels have been sorted....
    Historic paranoia on this issue has created a goldmine for the airlines but in the beginning they will overcharge and people will struggle to use them....

    My advice is to use an earpiece with a small mic and use your phone anyway the teleco's can just put up with it............ it won't crash the plane !

     

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    cap10moe, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 6:29am

    Cell phone inconsideration

    Been following this story the last 3 days, and must say, it gets more and more commical by the moment.
    A lot of arguments plus and minus on the technical aspects. Sure...some legit, some myth. Many of the tech aspects can be resolved (at great expense due to aviation approvals, certification, etc., which costs will of course be passed on to the passenger), by shielding, and various other means. Numerous problems have been caused in the past by several transmitting devices, not just cellphones. Many of these problems have been successfully resolved. However, with constant technology changes, we never know with 100% accuracy what effect that new wiz bang electro super wi fi gadget is going to have. Unfortunately with aviation, as many other things in our society, much of the learning curve is a result of some tragic event having taken place, often at the expense of many lives. Why take the chance?
    As for peoples RIGHTS, this argument is wearing very, very thin in many areas of society. People have a basic problem in confusing rights with privleges. Cell phone use, particularly in areas in which others may be affected, is a priviledge. Unfortunately, many people's world consists of that 2 foot radius around them, and everything outside of that radius is non existent. The basic concept of consideration for others has gone the way of the do-do bird. How often have you just walked down the street, without the distractions of cell phones, etc. and people just walk right into you as if you don't exist. I keep seeing the argument in this post of laws not being required, that people will develop a suitable etiquette on their own. Hasn't happened in the past...why would it suddenly happen now? I don't think some of us are so all important that we can't be out of touch for a few hours while on an airplane.
    As an airline pilot currently flying long haul flights to Europe, I have a basic knowledge of some of the technical aspects. I also have some knowledge of the human aspects of being sealed in an aluminium tube for 8 or 9 hours at a time. Sometimes it isn't pretty. It sometimes doesn't take much to spark an incident among passengers. In many cases, all it takes is a lack of consideration for others. Unfortunately, many cell phone users don't exhibit consideration for others at the best of times, much less at 35,000 feet in an enclosed, confining, noisy aluminium can. I have better things to do (like fly the plane) than try and resolve passenger disputes, arranging for the authorities to meet the flight, or in extreme cases, possibly having to divert to somewhere short of destination (much to everyone's inconvenience). Let's not open up the potential for more problems in the air...it's already bad enough...NO CELL PHONES.

     

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    johnny, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 7:06am

    Cell phone conversations are annoying to others because both sides of the conversation cannot be heard by eaves-droppers as they can when both parties to the conversation are within hearing distance.

     

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    jerry, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 7:38am

    what about the contitution?

    What about the freedom of speech? If I can talk to the person sitting next to me, why not someone on my cell...

     

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    cap10moe, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 8:51am

    Not a matter of freedom of speech. It's a matter of how you apply that freedom of speech. Unfortunately, many cell phone users choose to talk into their phones at increased volumes, thereby involving everyone around them in their converstions. Apply this in an already noisy, confined environment, and multiply by several times, and it can be quite annoying. Unfortunately, in an airplane, you can't just get up and walk away from it. Additionally, how many people take offence to others eavesdropping on (allegedly) private conversations, yet by their very actions while using their cells, make it unavoidable? I often wonder if many of these people are just trying to attract attention to themselves to make them look more important.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 9:01am

    We have real world tests. Cell phones are usable during certain flight phases. As a frequent traveler, and based on those "tests", I am glad to see this ban.

    Very, very, very glad.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 7:45pm

    The real reason cells were banned on airplanes

    The original cells were three watts, remember? If you fired one of those up on the ground, it would tickle the nearest couple of cells, but if you fired one up in the air, they would hit every cell tower in 100 miles - and doing same caused problems with the original cell towers.

     

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    Mark Snedecor, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 9:28pm

    Cell Phones During Flight

    In Europe now, people are allowed to use their cell phone during flight, and in my opinion, that influence will eventually cause a strong desire to eventually allow cell phones to be used during flight in the U.S. However, one very prominent and prolific roadblock still insists. Business travelers and others want to make calls during flight, and airlines and wireless companies want to make revenue from this service, but most people onboard don’t want to be bothered by people yapping while they fly. So, why not have the airlines pass a rule that says you can use your cell phone during fight, but only if you use a Conversation Privatizer like device? See www.ZipItInc.com. This makes a Win-Win-Win situation for ALL!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2008 @ 1:26am

    Cellphones affect avionics, here's your proof

    From the study, which includes research from NASA and a number of other sources:

    There are numerous reports in the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) database of navigation errors which ceased after the crew asked for PEDs to be turned off. Although the VOR system was most often cited, the instrument landing system (ILS) was reported to have been affected 17 times, radar altimeters 10 times, autopilot systems eight times, ground-proximity warning systems seven times and an engine fuel controller once, in data through March 2001. Significantly, in a number of cases, the cockpit crew verified that the PED was the source of the error by having it turned back on and seeing the navigation error repeat, before requiring that the device be secured.

    Personal electronics have caused avionics interference on airliners and general aviation aircraft. These devices are being used on revenue flights, including cell phones during approach. Passengers are not aware that their electronics are restricted for safety reasons.


    http://www.overhaulmaintenance.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=comm&id=news /VIEW04136.xml&headline=Are%20Personal%20Electronics%20A%20Threat%20To%20Aircraft?

     

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