Print 56 comment(s) - last by elgoliath.. on Oct 10 at 1:29 PM

Just say no; that is the FAA's stance on cell phones on planes.

Ever since cell phones first became popular, a constant among almost every airplane flight has been an order to turn off your cell phones.  These orders have been courtesy of the in-flight ban on mobile phones by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), the government body which oversees air travel in the U.S.

Many saw this ban as an unnecessary inconvenience, given that little actual scientific investigation had been conducted into fears of interference.  There were numerous proposals to lift the ban or to possibly allow special lower power phones designed to work in the air.

Now FAA officials have announced that due to public outcry, they will be dropping the proposals to lift the ban and announced that the ban would stay in place for "the foreseeable future."

While the FAA cited public outrage as justification for leaving the ban in place, the announcement follows research from last year investigating the phenomena.  Last year, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University conducted a study which was featured in the IEEE Spectrum publication.  The study, surprisingly, was thought to be the first of its kind.  It found that portable radio frequency emitting devices such as cell phones could easily cause interference in onboard instruments, such as the GPS, greatly raising the risk of accident or other flight difficulties.

Still, the FAA relied mostly on public opinion on the issue and showed no indication of being swayed by these recent studies.

In Britain, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Britain's equivalent of the FAA, found 20 incidents of airplane malfunction between January 2000 and August 2005, which it deemed caused by cell phones.

Despite these result, the European Aviation Safety Agency approved the use of in-flight mobile phones provided by the communications company ON Air. These devices transmit weaker signals, hopefully yielding less interference.  Air France, Tap Air Portugal, and Rayanair are among the European air carriers planning to adopt the technology.

Internationally, many carriers including Emirates and AirAsia are planning to adopt this technology as well.

In Britain there has been a large grassroots movement to block potential introduction of cell phones on planes.  Among the movements backers is British parliament member Lee Scott, who is very much against these approvals and sees the phones as possible security threats.  "The Madrid train bombs in 2004 were set off by mobile phone,” Scott elaborated. "What will be the security implications of everyone having mobiles switched on at 30,000 [feet]? It can only put even greater pressure on airport security staff."

As world powers ponder on this issue, the truly facet of this issue is the lack of peer-reviewed scientific research on this topic, which obviously has greatly implications on citizens’ daily lives.

Hopefully in the future, this topic will be more thoroughly researched and possibly mobile phones can be built to someday safely operate within the airplane electronic environment.  While some may dream of using their cell phones on planes, for now, they will continue to be banned on American flights for the near future ... even on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

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RE: Public outcry
By FITCamaro on 10/9/2007 9:17:57 AM , Rating: 2
I'm with you man. The last thing I want on a flight is to listen to someone go on and on for hours on their phone while sitting next to me. A plane shouldn't sound like the New York Stock Exchange. Give us our peace and quiet in this one place. I don't want some ditzy 16 year old chick sitting next to me for 2 hours saying "like" every other sentence.

As far as wifi, I hope they block the programs. I'm sure some people will find a way around it, but that'll stop most people.

RE: Public outcry
By Etsp on 10/9/2007 9:34:22 AM , Rating: 5
You like, totally are like underestimating like, how often teenagers use like.

RE: Public outcry
By FITCamaro on 10/9/2007 9:54:37 AM , Rating: 2
When I was in middle school and high school they did. And my point was I don't want some young twit chatting away next to me (or near me) for all to hear. Much less a few dozen of them. Or anyone else talking on the plane for that matter.

What happens when you get the guy who finds out on the plane that his girlfriend is cheating on him with his friend who's sitting next to him? Don't say it won't happen.

When I'm on a plane, I just want to sit there in peace and quiet if I so choose. Or be able to read a book or watch a movie/TV show on my laptop with headphones on.

RE: Public outcry
By Bluestealth on 10/9/2007 4:54:48 PM , Rating: 2
What happens when you get the guy who finds out on the plane that his girlfriend is cheating on him with his friend who's sitting next to him? Don't say it won't happen.

The guy gets all pissed off and punches his friend in the next seat, flight attendants come by and try to stop the fight. One of the attendants gets shoved, more flight attendants/air marshal come, they fail to restrain the guy. The pilot initiates an emergency landing at the nearest airport, and police officers come on board and tazer the guy, filling the cabin with the smell of burnt flesh. Eventually after police statements have been given and the local news has talked to everyone you take off and land at your original destination 5 hours late.

Or he could break down and start crying...

RE: Public outcry
By spluurfg on 10/9/2007 11:52:34 AM , Rating: 2
You're lucky, I've never had anybody below the age of 35 sit next to me on a plane... unless they were a travel companion of course... and people don't have to be on the phone to be going on and on for hours at a high volume. This happened to me from Finland to London once... it was insane. Some woman behind me would not stop talking at a tremendous volume for the entire flight. The lady next to me wanted to turn to them and ask them to shutup. There isn't much one can do about others being inconsiderate sometimes... thank god for headphones.

RE: Public outcry
By ebakke on 10/9/2007 12:51:33 PM , Rating: 2
There isn't much one can do about others being inconsiderate sometimes...

Except of course to tell them they're being inconsiderate and ask them to stop. If you don't ask them to stop, you have no place complaining to us.

RE: Public outcry
By spluurfg on 10/9/2007 4:47:20 PM , Rating: 2
My point was that inconsideration isn't strictly relegated to cell phone usage, not to find an outlet to complain. As far as that particular situation went, I felt it wasn't worth trying to figure out if they understood English, which unfortunately is the only language I speak, or finding out if they'd be offended by calling them inconsiderate when I suppose that one arguably has every right to have a conversation on a daytime flight. The same is true of a baby or small child crying. Inconsiderate? I suppose. Is there much one can do about it? Not really.

RE: Public outcry
By ebakke on 10/9/2007 6:04:18 PM , Rating: 2
I think making the choice to speak loudly on a plane is vastly different than not being able to convince your baby to stop crying.

I still stand by my argument - you can't complain unless you've done everything (or something) in your power to fix the problem.

RE: Public outcry
By nitrous9200 on 10/9/2007 3:53:13 PM , Rating: 2
Thank god for noise canceling headphones! :)
We've all had our fair share of babies crying, people kicking, etc. I picked up a pair of cheap Maxell noise canceling headphones for about $25 and they do work great. No need to spend hundreds on bose headphones which are probably made in china with the same crappy components as knockoff brands.

RE: Public outcry
By euclidean on 10/9/2007 1:10:21 PM , Rating: 2
We've been talking about it at work with the WiFi...our corporate guys are already wanting to setup Netmeeting so they can use it for conference calls and such while on the plain when they have to fly from the US to other countries...Just what I need are more VIP calls beacuse the user can't connect to another person's netmeeting when they're on a 2+ hour flight :\.

RE: Public outcry
By markitect on 10/9/2007 1:56:35 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget the people that think you have to yell in a cell phone for it to work, or worse yet a combination of both, the soccer mom.

RE: Public outcry
By Oregonian2 on 10/9/2007 2:08:38 PM , Rating: 2
You probably do have to yell at a phone in a plane unless the cell phone itself has really good noise canceling features.

RE: Public outcry
By TomZ on 10/9/2007 2:26:38 PM , Rating: 2
That's right - I think people sitting in front of their computers forget how noisy flights actually are.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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