Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Communications Cellphones Transportation Government News

FCC, FAA Still Don't Want Cell Phones on Planes 300

Posted by Zonk
from the probably-a-terrorist-plot dept.
mattnyc99 writes "Last month we learned that the UK has approved in-flight mobile, effective immediately. Popular Mechanics has a follow-up on why the phones-on-planes ban is here to stay in the United States. Statements from the FCC and FAA confirm that any chance to overturn it remains dead on arrival — even though new "pico-cell" networks cut down interference with phones on the ground. American Airlines is looking like it will have onboard Wi-Fi within the next couple months, just the same. PM does note, however, that if the European mobile rollout is a success, US carriers might just have to give into demand."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

FCC, FAA Still Don't Want Cell Phones on Planes

Comments Filter:
  • by dattaway (3088) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @03:53PM (#23016450) Homepage Journal
    Imagine a two hour flight with everyone talking to their hands. Or the ones with blinking blue cockroaches in their ears talking to the seat in front of them. No thanks.
    • by bcat24 (914105) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @04:00PM (#23016544) Homepage Journal
      I couldn't agree more. Don't get me wrong, I love my cell phone as much as the next guy. It's just that there are some places where non-emergency phone calls are inappropriate. Plane flights are bad enough without people chatting on their cell for hours on end.

      In-flight wifi, on the other hand, sounds far more promising. I can imagine it being used for some really awesome things, like movie rentals that work directly with your laptop.
      • by Loki_1929 (550940) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @04:50PM (#23017232) Journal
        "In-flight wifi, on the other hand, sounds far more promising. I can imagine it being used for some really awesome things, like movie rentals that work directly with your laptop.

        Or voice over IP via a bluetooth headset paired to the laptop.

        Wait a minute... D'OH!

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Martin Blank (154261)
          The airlines looking to put in WiFi are explicitly blocking VoIP traffic using proxies, specifically to save bandwidth that would otherwise be chewed up by people talking. VoIP may not be a major strain on most land links, but it can be much less bursty than web traffic, and since at least some of the systems being examined will use satellites, it will be a more precious resources on the planes.
      • by Alinabi (464689) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @05:10PM (#23017484)
        Actually, plane flights are so bad, that nothing can make them worse. Someone talking on the phone next to me is nothing compared to the 4 year old kid behind me kicking my seat for 7 hours in a row. At least now I can use the dead time to call my mother, who always complains I don't call enough. The only question is: will I be able to take my knees out of my mouth to reach for the phone in my pocket?
    • by Caligatio (1064234) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @04:05PM (#23016606) Homepage
      Yea, this would drive me absolutely batty. Of course, if WiFi is OKed, that means that VoIP is possible.
      • by peragrin (659227)
        too much lag for VOIP though. IM would be okay as all you would get is the occasional laugh and lots of keyboard clicking.
      • by walterbays (1136723) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @06:26PM (#23018336) Homepage

        They'll block VoIP in the initial sky Wifi: http://blogs.zdnet.com/ip-telephony/?p=1506 [zdnet.com]

        I read a suggestion that when someone has a loud "private" conversation, you simply join into the conversation as they clearly intended all their neighbors to do by talking so loudly:

        • "Oh you're right about that. I wouldn't put up with it for a minute. You should just tell him where to go."
        • "How long has your sister had this disease?"
        • "That's great news for you. I sure hope none of your competitors find out that you're going to bid 20k. Will you give me a call later and tell me how it comes out?"
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dotfile (536191)
      Amen, brother. I won't fly without my cell, but for God's sake don't make all of us listen to every idiot on the plane yelling into their effing phone. It's noisy and uncomfortable enough as it is.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by bluemetal (1269852)
      I agree. As if screaming babies weren't enough.
      • by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @04:41PM (#23017088) Homepage Journal
        The babies don't bother me. The Adults tend to be 10 times worse. I used to fly a lot. I never had a terrible problem with babies. Yes sitting next to a 450 lbs woman that thought a beach umbrella was carry on luggage. A jerk that not only yelled at me for putting my bag in the over head because it might crush his cell phone. A bodybuilder that started to cry when we hit a little rough air.
        The wost had to be the guy that yelled at the two nuns with orphans. They made a tiny bit of noise and this guy started yelling them to shut them up.
        Just being in the same plane with that guy has got to be really bad karma.
        Babies? Heck they are babies, they don't know any better. It is the adults that make the flights hell.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Xenious (24845)
      I don't want calls available, but SMS and 2.5 or 3G data connectivity sounds good to me. I guess wifi would work just the same.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Chris Burke (6130)
      Imagine a two hour flight with everyone talking to their hands. Or the ones with blinking blue cockroaches in their ears talking to the seat in front of them. No thanks.

      For serious. I don't care what their excuse is, maintain the ban on cellphones! I've even pretended to agree with the technical reasons for the ban before when someone has asked me. "Oh, cell phones? Oh yeah, the FAA is right, they'll fuck a plane up. All those e-m wave frequencies can interfere with the avionics, and the tachyons gener
    • by Sandbags (964742)
      I've got no problem sticking a pair of ear phones in, cutting on the noise canceling, and letting them all chat away at $0.50 a minute premium air time. All they're doing is improving the airport's profits, and as a result, some of that will lower my ticket cost in the future...

      Free wi-fi on planes, that's what I'm waiting for. It might not be free for everyone, but with my bundled iPhone, home phone, and AT&T internet service plan, I don't pay for wi-fi at airports, starbucks, or any other AT&T h
      • by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @05:19PM (#23017588) Journal

        All they're doing is improving the airport's profits, and as a result, some of that will lower my ticket cost in the future...
        Since you believe that improving an airline's bottom-line will yield cheaper tickets, there's that nice bridge in San-Francisco (complete with "Free Tibets" banners) I want to sell you.
  • Funny that. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Wowsers (1151731) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @03:53PM (#23016454) Journal
    What a strange co-incidence, I don't want phones on a plane either. I don't want to hear 400 calls of "Hello, you never guess where I'm calling from."
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by 4D6963 (933028)

      "Hello, you never guess where I'm calling from."

      "Can.. Can you hear me now? ... Can you hear me now?"

  • Ill pass, thanks. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spotdog14 (877656)
    i cannot imagine how horrible a 3 hour delay on the aircraft will be then! wifi i can see, laptops, internet = good. Cellphones = bad. Unless of course we all get 1st class seats and our own little curtains.
    • by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @03:57PM (#23016514)

      i cannot imagine how horrible a 3 hour delay on the aircraft will be then! wifi i can see, laptops, internet = good. Cellphones = bad.

      And when I make VoIP calls using a microphone..?

      • by bcat24 (914105) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @04:03PM (#23016584) Homepage Journal

        i cannot imagine how horrible a 3 hour delay on the aircraft will be then! wifi i can see, laptops, internet = good. Cellphones = bad.

        And when I make VoIP calls using a microphone..?

        You better hope I'm not sitting behind you when you try that. (Last time I checked, cluesticks weren't on the list of banned weapons. :D)
      • by cowscows (103644)
        Then a stewardess walks over and tells you to stop, just the same as if you opened up your laptop and started playing music out of its speakers. Even if the FAA said that it was ok, I'd hope that most of the airlines would have the good sense to not allow it on their flights. The technology that you use to make that call isn't really relevant.
        • The technology that you use to make that call isn't really relevant.

          Then what, exactly, is relevant?

          I thought the whole point of not allowing cell phones was that they cause interference. If wifi doesn't, and I can send VoIP over that wifi, how would that magically start causing interference?

          • I thought the whole point of not allowing cell phones was that they cause interference. If wifi doesn't, and I can send VoIP over that wifi, how would that magically start causing interference?

            Indeed, as far as I know the problem mainly is that one of the attributes of GSM is that does burst transmissions; that's how one of my friends always knows a second beforehand that she's about to get a call because her Clock Radio does a weird buzzing, the interference is in the audio stage of the electronics. Thus

  • by OYAHHH (322809) * on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @03:55PM (#23016490) Homepage
    > US carriers might just have to give into demand

    Well, as far as I'm concerned, they already have. I don't want some blabber-mouth next to me trying to yell over the jet's noise for a cross country trip.

    Now, if they want to instigate a cell-phone free area at the front or rear of the plane like they used to do with smoking versus no-smoking sections then I say go-for-it...
    • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @03:59PM (#23016534)
      I spend almost 3 hours a day on commuter trains. My most hated phrase, ever, is "NO!! I HAVE PLENTY OF TIME!! I'M ON THE TRAIN!!"
      • Unfortunately, it's probably only a matter of time. Since we don't have smoking sections anymore, how about a quiet section. Amtrak [amtrak.com] and the TGV have a quiet cars. Smoke travels almost as well as sound. And if noise really troubles you, pick up some noise-blocking headphones [etymotic.com] or just some earplugs [hearos.com]. Just don't wind up like this guy [nytimes.com]
        • by jdigriz (676802)
          I'd pay up to 50 bucks extra per ticket not to have to listen to the bores next to me jibber-jabbering. Noise-canceling headphones don't work that well versus irregular noise like human speech. Bring back the phone booth! Of course maybe it would work just as well if I offered the 25 dollars to my seat neighbors directly to stay off the phone.
        • by Skidge (316075)
          We used to have quiet cars on the commuter trains around here, but they discontinued them due to the increasing amount of people who were taking the trains. I guess they couldn't spare the space for the non-talkers with the ever-increasing number of talkers on the train. It was a sad day when that happened, and for a long time afterwards, there were nasty looks shot about the formerly-quiet cars as people blabbered into their cell phones.

        • Those headphones only block constant background noise - which is the only noise which doesn't bother me!

          • by Abcd1234 (188840)
            He said noise blocking, not noise canceling. Think earplugs combined with headphones. Far superior to noise canceling phones, don't require any power whatsoever, and work fairly well versus speech (as well as any earplugs do, anyway).

            Personally, I favour Shure, mainly because their soft plugs are better than virtually anything else on the market.
        • by Omestes (471991)
          I think that guy is my new hero.

          Why the hell are people so frightened of silence?
      • by Original Replica (908688) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @04:16PM (#23016748) Journal
        I know a number of people who ride the commuter trains, and more and more of them are starting to carry these handy little devices. [phonejammer.com] No, no one cares about how legal these are or are not. Turn them on just long enough for the offending phone to lose the call, and they are undetectable.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by gad_zuki! (70830)
          If you use that on a plane dont be surprised if you end up in prison. I seriously doubt those things are 100% safe when it comes to avionics.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by PitaBred (632671)
            I'd say that they're just as safe as any cell phone would be. They don't use much more power. The trick would be getting something that looks like a remote bomb detonator through security.
  • by RJBeery (956252)
    It isn't cell tower overload - it's control over information. When there are problems with the plane that may be known by people on the ground the last thing they need is a bunch of cell phones ringing to cause absolute panic. Can you imagine being in the air on 9/11 and getting a phone call from your screaming family as they told you what was on the news?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Duradin (1261418)
      You mean getting told that the terrorist doesn't intend to hijack the plane and take it to Cuba, instead he means to fly it into a building and kill everyone on board? Ya, that's information I really don't want to know.
    • by smooth wombat (796938) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @04:05PM (#23016608) Homepage Journal
      Except for the fact that in the case of one plane, the one that went down in PA, some people on the plane were able to call out and notify authorities of their hijackings and provide some information as to the number of hijackers, weapons, etc. In the case of the hostesses, they used on board phones, not cell phones, but some passengers did call their family and/or authorities.

      I realize you mean the other way, someone calling you, for why cell phones shouldn't be used on planes due to the panic issue, but I'm still against them being used. Not that I have any inclination to fly anytime soon but if I did, I get enough of someone else's yammering walking around stores. I don't need to be confined for a few hours with no way to get away from, "Yeah, I be tellin her dat she ain't gonna be good wif him. Uh huh."

    • If cell phones are banned, they can still charge you a dollar a minute for the official in-flight phone service.

      I really don't think there's any safety-related reason, even your "control of information" theory, especially if Oceana^WEurope is allowing them. Seriously, Britain seems almost more paranoid about terrorism than the US.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      Sigh, yeah, jump to the wild ass conspiracy. well done~

      Look, Cell phones can interfere with certain equipment. Having seen this happen in a test lab I consider the European airlines are being irresponsible.

      No, it's not common, and no it's not every phone. In fact it's usually some run of a phone that wasn't manufactured to spec.

      A single routers can be shielded, 100's of in use cell phones can not.

      • A single routers can be shielded, 100's of in use cell phones can not.

        And 100's of in-use wifi cards can? It's not just the router that's generating a signal...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by daveo0331 (469843)
      That's exactly what happened on flight 93, and those phone calls are a big part of the reason why that plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania instead of wherever the terrorists intended to crash it (speculation is they were heading for the US Capitol).
  • The concept of it's okay to chat away on your phone in the UK on the plane but not in the US won't peeve ANY international travelers. Of course they will happily fly into the US where they have to turn off their phones and succumb to more invasive security then take their business to another country.
    • Security in the UK is more of a hassle than in the US, and in France and Germany it's much worse. The general experience in airport terminals is much worse in the European train station-based terminals, in which you can't start walking the 5-20 minutes (at Heathrow) to your gate until about 45 minutes before your flight, which is then always late due to delayed boarding.

      And no, I don't think that cell phones bans on planes in some countries will keep international business out of them.
  • Does that mean that I can use a UMA phone (eg. T-Mobile's Hotspot@Home service) or Skype while in flight?

    The problem with the UMA service is that there is no way to do a web-based sighnup from the phone. I did once experiment with trying to change the AC address of my PC to match my phone's MAC address, then sign up, but I was not successful. On reflection, I should probably have turned off my phone while the PC had the same MAC address.
  • The concern is.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by esocid (946821) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @04:03PM (#23016586) Journal
    I can't remember who I remember hearing this from, but during some flight I recalled some flight personnel talking about it and the reason behind it being that not all cell phones are alike and not all plane equipment is alike. The testing needed to be completely sure that there wouldn't be any sort of interference would be horrendously laborious, not to mention that something new comes out just about every month. I can't vouch that this is absolutely true, but I do see where they are coming from.
    Plus like one of the above posts said, I don't want Mr. "I'm an important asshat" blabbing on his bluetooth earpiece while I'm trying to sleep. People don't have common sense so let's just leave it at that.
    • by esocid (946821)
      Also forgot about the varying frequencies and networks that cell phones use, CDMA, PCS, 2G, 3G...etc.
    • Re:The concern is.. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sandbags (964742) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @04:56PM (#23017300) Journal
      The issue was with old, pre-CDMA cell phones and extremely old avionics, like those found in small and mid-sized non-comercial aircraft about 40 years ago.

      Modern cockpits have been retrofitted with systems that shield from various types of this radiation and signal interference, and the older touchy meters are only found in old, personally owned aircraft today. Also, not a single one of those old phones that DID cause the interference is in use today since those old networks were dismantled years ago.

      This is what happens when people who do not understand technology are allowed to make decisions for people that do.

      People forget to turn on or off their cell phones on every flight I've been on for years... I'll hear voicemail chimes start going off about a mile from the ground, typically about 10 minutes or so before landing. I'll also catch kids whipping out phones to play games in-flight, phones that I know for certain don't support radio-off airline operation modes.

      Not one plane has complained about avionic radio interference. With tens of thousands of people in the air every day, and at least one person on every flight forgetting to turn it off (or leaving it on on purpose), we'd have heard about an issue.

      If the medical industry was held to the standards of the FAA, we'd just now be seeing asprin appear on store shelves for the first time.... 45 billion test cases, not one single failure, but ya never know... we need to do more testing....
  • by zymano (581466) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @04:04PM (#23016596)
    These also show up at the library and bookstores.

    STFU already.

    Someone needs to tell off these annoying Aholes. Especially women who babble endlessly about stupid trifling crap.

    I about blew my lid at the library once. There is a big sign that even says turn off your phones , guess what , they still IGNORE it.

    And those stupid ringtones!!!

    Start fining these assholes!
    • by geekoid (135745)
      Just ask them to leave the library.
      However, in a book STORE you really ahve no business telling people who the can and can not talk to.
      If they were talking to a friend next to them, would you tell them to leave?

      well, sure, you would your a selfish jerk. Most people wouldn't.

      And your complaining about ring tone, sweet. I hope someday the concerns that I have that anger me are as trivial as yours.
      • by zymano (581466)
        Asking someone to leave a library is not kosher. Thats up to the heads.

        I need to bring Ipod into the bookstore where people might be trying to read a few pages and start singing to the tunes.

        You are the real selfish jerk. Calling others who want some peace from technogadgetry as selfish is audacity.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by 4D6963 (933028)

      And those stupid ringtones!!! Start fining these assholes!

      I agree, it's about time the government does something about these people are obviously unable to decide what's a ringtone and what's a cheesy song you should only listen to when you're home alone and with headphones on.

      I suggest a few categories in order to define fines. Category A would be stupid rap and pop songs, with a $10 fine, Category B would be really cheesy love songs and the likes, $25 fine, and Category C would be Crazy Frog, make it a

    • by Anonymous Coward
      If they start allowing cellphones on planes, then from now on every time I am scheduled to fly somewhere, I will ensure that I eat a couple of bean burritos before boarding the plane. If the person sitting next to me on the flight starts yapping on the phone and disturbing me, then I'll start farting at them.
  • by manekineko2 (1052430) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @04:04PM (#23016600)
    It's funny how despite the fact that the crowd at Slashdot is generally overwhelmingly pro-tech, the average reader is also very hostile to the idea of in-flight calls based on past stories on this.

    Moreover, it's funny how despite the fact that the crowd at Slashdot is generally overwhelmingly anti-government regulation, when it comes to things they want the government to regulate, like banning in-flight cellular phone use, they're generally more than happy to acquiesce.

    Unless the cell phones present a safety concern, I don't see any reason whatsoever for the government to be involved in banning in-flight cell phone use. If the free market turns out to be interested in having quiet flights without cellular phone use, then I'm sure carriers will be more than happy to offer flights and/or cabins that ban cellular phone use. There are already laws that make not complying with flight attendants a crime. If the market turns out to be more interested in the convenience of using phones on planes, then who are you to be telling them through the use of legalized government force to prevent airlines from serving those markets?

    Other than the interference with navigational controls and ground based towers, which are supposed to be eliminated with the pico-cells, and which we'll soon get to the bottom of with the UK legalizing, I haven't heard of a single legitimate reason to involve governmental intervention in this. The blurb about terrorism concerns and remote detonating bombs sounds like more pointless scare-mongering with no increase in security. The article itself admits that people are already surreptitiously using cellular phones.

    It's nice that most Slashdoters don't want cell phones on planes, but it's downright screwed up to use governmental force to make everyone go along with it without a public purpose behind it.
    • by Gat0r30y (957941)
      You make an excellent point, but frankly, I'm just surprised that two massive government bureaucracies agree on something. By the way, my transmission lab professor once explained to me the intricacies of why cellphones aren't allowed on planes (incidentally, the very same reasons she did not allow cells into her lab, your phone rang in there, you were kicked out for the whole day!)-
      1) It happens that most cells operate at 2.4 GHz, the same frequency as the GPS unit in the plane, and on the off chance th
      • by Forbman (794277)
        Plus, a GSM pico cell on planes might work fine in the US also, but we also have CDMA carriers (SprintNexTel, Verizon). So...what then? Probably lucrative to US airlines to do "exclusive" deals with AT&T, most likely...
      • by ptbarnett (159784)

        It happens that most cells operate at 2.4 GHz, the same frequency as the GPS unit in the plane, and on the off chance that the two signals could interfere with each other during takeoff/landing the benefit does not outweigh the risk.

        No, cellphones operate in the vicinity of 800-900 MHz and 1.8-2.0 GHz, depending on which country you are in and which service provider you are using. GPS operates in the vicinity of 1.2 and 1.5 GHz. There are also the aircraft navigation and communication bands in the vicinity of 120 and 240 MHz.

        You are probably thinking of WiFi, Bluetooth, etc. that operate in the unlicensed ISM band near 2.4 GHz.

        However, it's possible that a malfunctioning cellphone (or even one working as designed) can emit a

    • by geekoid (135745)
      I love how you lump us into one pool of the same mind~

      "I haven't heard of a single legitimate reason to involve governmental intervention in this."
      As someone who has tested phone that were pulled from plane when the nav system started getting quirky, I would say yes, it is a government issue.

      When pico phone come out, is everyone going to immediately get one?

      "The blurb about terrorism concerns and remote detonating bombs sounds like more pointless scare-mongering with no increase in security."
      true.

      "but it's
      • I love how you lump us into one pool of the same mind~

        I love how you read only what you want to see. There is a definite time and place for this argument you are forwarding, this is not it.
        From my original post: It's funny how despite the fact that the crowd at Slashdot is generally overwhelmingly pro-tech, the average reader is also very hostile to the idea of in-flight calls based on past stories on this.

        Moreover, it's funny how despite the fact that the crowd at Slashdot is generally overwhelmingly anti-government regulation, when it comes to things they

    • I think the original reason for banning was being unsure whether it interfered with the operation of the plane. Sure, it PROBABLY won't, and on paper it shouldn't (just like needing to turn your cell phone off around explosive detonators), but no one was/is willing to take the chance until someone with authority could flat out say "It WON'T happen".

      Now that we have finally gotten there, the majority still wants to keep the cell phone ban, but for more social reasons. They don't want to have to deal
    • by indros13 (531405) *
      An excellent point.

      Perhaps a compromise is to have airlines give announcements like in movie theaters - "please turn off your cell phones for the enjoyment of the other passengers." Or as another post suggested, let airlines ban cellphones as policy.

      After all, a 2005 survey found that 63% of Americans do NOT want cell phones use to be allowed on planes.

      Then again, with that kind of majority, maybe we should just pass a law...
    • Unless the cell phones present a safety concern, I don't see any reason whatsoever for the government to be involved in banning in-flight cell phone use.
      After hearing the "brrr brrr br br br br" come from all sorts of speakers -- even with the phone several feet away -- I feel like just having the battery in a cell phone is unsafe. Plane or not.
    • Gawd I hate Libertarians. If the last 7 years should have taught you anything, it's that government regulation is GOOD and blindly relying on profit motive to fix the ills of the world is BAD.

      it's downright screwed up to use governmental force to make everyone go along with it without a public purpose behind it.

      I think the posters have outlined enough of the public concerns.

    • by msimm (580077)
      Maybe it's my threshold level, but I don't see a lot of such comments. But either way, I don't see the point of confusing a healthy distrust of government as anti-government. I think if you ask the average slashdotter if they support total deregulation they'd probably laugh at you. The only thing we trust less then government is unchecked business, you do the math.
  • by Corpuscavernosa (996139) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @04:12PM (#23016694)
    Verizon has enough problems switching between towers without dropping calls while I'm moving in my car. On a plane? Shit...
    • by techpawn (969834)

      On a plane? Shit...
      Oh no! does anyone here speak Jive?!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by torqer (538711)
      You wouldn't be switching between towers at all. I'm pretty sure the summary mentioned "pico cells" which are basically mini towers. They don't need to be nearly as strong as a real tower because the even the longest plane in the world is only 75 meters (Airbus 340-600).

      Perhaps thinking of them as repeaters is more effective. All of the phones on the plane connect to that one tower (pico cell), and then sends all of the communications to the ground.
  • Sure, you'll get a lot of irritating jabbering, but you get a lot of that anyway, and I can usually hear the sound from the headsets in the next two or three seats, so I'm used to being irritated. I'm rather more concerned with the fact that the FCC started asking about wiring and suddenly all the airlines are inspecting like mad. I'm also rather more concerned with the fact that I cannot get a reasonable quote on the radiation exposure to passengers on international flights. The difficulty in getting that
  • The Real Reason (Score:3, Interesting)

    by amplt1337 (707922) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @04:22PM (#23016846) Journal
    But if we allow cell phones on domestic flights, who'd use the $5-a-minute credit-card-op plastic phone from the seat in front of you?
  • Lies (Score:2, Troll)

    by mcelrath (8027)

    Mostly, I'm sick of being lied to in the "safety" spiel at the beginning of every flight. As TFA states, there is no corroborating evidence of interference with the plane's navigation systems. If there were, the FCC is not doing their job of certifying devices, and some heads need to roll over there.

    I have no problem with turning them off, but stop telling us everything is for our "safety" and herding us like scared little sheep. People deserve to be treated intelligently, and with respect.

  • by dontmakemethink (1186169) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @04:34PM (#23017004)

    There was a Mythbusters episode (season 4 episode 6) where they got serious interference under test conditions with actual airplane instruments, but were unable to interfere with the instruments on an actual plane. They concluded that even though they couldn't create a hazardous situation, it would be an extremely bad idea to take the risk, since it is plausible and there's only one way to find out!

    They also made a good point that air travel would be prohibitively expensive if insurance companies required airlines to verify that every component of every plane in their fleets were impervious to cel phone interference. That makes the $5 plane phone seem a lot less sinister.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bagheera (71311)
      I remember the Mythbusters episode in question, and the conditions they were able to get "significant interference" in was Grant's mockup cockpit. While he put all the pieces together, he didn't put them together with the same levels of shielding that a real aircraft would have. When they moved to a borrowed corporate jet, they got no results as you pointed out. The difference being that an aircraft's controls and instruments are well shielded from stray RF interference.

      I seem to remember their conclusio
  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Wednesday April 09, 2008 @04:38PM (#23017052)
    ...you don't have any flights?

    American Airlines is looking like it will have onboard Wi-Fi within the next couple months,
    American Airlines is looking like it won't have any flights left, after canceling over 1000 flights this week so far.
  • And not because I can hear someone talking. Its the principle of it. I live near a beautiful huge park and within the last 5 years I've started seeing more and more people in the park constantly on their cell phones. I always thought the idea of going to the park was to get away from all of that. Airline travel is so miserable these days that I can't imagine adding one more inconvenience to it. Gee, can you use cell phones on cruse ships?
  • >>"PM does note, however, that if the European mobile rollout is a success, US carriers might just have to give into demand."

    Demand and US cell phones really doesn't compute, and I can't remember the last time that an airline or cell phone carrier gave in to "demand". Hell, 3g was just rolled out where I live, a major metropolitan area, and Europe is starting to roll 4g.

When you don't know what to do, walk fast and look worried.

Working...