Friday, January 21, 2011
Overheard on Using cell phones in flight


Is it really dangerous to use a cell phone on a plane?


Comment of the day: "The next time I'm on a flight, at takeoff, I'm going to tether my phone to my laptop to get internet access, watch a movie on a portable DVD player, turn on my HAM radio, and text my friends on another phone for good measure." --wilhan01


The science of cell phones on planes is up for debate. Readers hashed it out and seemed to fall into two camps: those who think cell phones should be outlawed on flights based on their possibility to be annoying, and those who think people should be able to use them on flights. Some said texting would be OK. Many people in the latter camp said they think airlines want to make money off of Wi-Fi, or had some other reason for having rules.


Some, like Catbert00, said they leave phones on during flights and encourage others to do the same. "As soon as they can charge you to make those cell calls and texts, they will be fine. Do you actually think the FAA or the TSA or the postmaster general would allow $100 million aircraft to fly millions of people around the country each year if a little old cell phone could bring it down. ... The real reason for turning off and stowing all electronic devices is so if there is a problem, they won't become projectiles hurling through the cabin (plan and simple)."


MEWeaver said, "Any reason not to have to listen to the bores that blab on the phone is sufficient. An airline flight is the last bastion of quiet from the nauseating blah, blah, blah of cell phone users." AngryDeuce said, "I've yet to be on a flight that doesn't have at least one screaming infant on board. If we're gonna start passing rules in the interests of not being annoying, I got a few more rules to submit, thank you very much." Walleye46 said, "If I had to sit next to someone on a cell phone for four hours I would probably be ready to either go insane or kill that person. This is definitely NOT a good idea for many travelers."


And then there were some who couldn't get over the story's main photo. Clafong said the man is overcompensating for a possible lack of manhood. "The picture at the front of this article says it all."


Tracking down my online haters


Honorable mention: "All you people are a bunch of #$%^**!!. You don't #%$!! know the first @#$%!! thing about @$#%^&!! There isn't any rude or nasty @#%^$! comments on the internet! You're !@*&%%$#! imagining things you blind, backward &^%&%##!! .... (god I love anonymity!)" --crapmaster


Jeff Pearlman is a columnist with who wrote about confronting a Twitter user who sent him a naughty note. We thought it would be fitting to highlight some of the comments that story got -- and then ask for still more comments. Interestingly, some commenters wondered if the author's decision to track down a commenter and contact them was creepy; others argued in response that it was the journalistic thing to do.


Dabney wrote, "I speak to many on the fine art of minding your manners on social media. It is as simple as this: do and say online only what you would do and say in real life. It is difficult enough to 'take it back' when you speak poorly to or of someone in real life. It is impossible on social media. What you say and what you do will be retrievable forever. Mind your manners, engage as who you really are and you will find success and build your influence for your brand or business easily."


Perhaps society as a whole is becoming too anonymous. NavRetired said we see too many people in our daily lives who are just a few more anonymous faces. "We are all very small islands now. Some islands are angrier than others." Kathryn1213 noted driver behavior: "Try driving any distance and see how people react if they think you aren't going fast enough. They tailgate, flip you off, honk and more."


Or, perhaps Pearlman just needed some thicker skin. momomiester said, "Jeff, Jeff, Jeff. Why take it so personal? Plus, you might just confront the wrong guy next time and that might put you and your family in danger." cre8tiv says technology rewards bad behavior: "Internet training by Pavlov. Thoughtful, polite comments are usually ignored while nasty comments often yield replies. People like to be noticed. I don't know the cure for this, but I applaud you tracking them down." davidp44022 said things have changed since letters to the editor. "Now that getting a new e-mail address is easy, everybody can write what they want. Until your e-mail address becomes part of your actual personal identity, trolling will never end." And then there was masquedx: "Ha. There's two men that won't be trolling again any time soon, if ever. They probably had no idea how to handle being accountable for their vitriol."


She ate 162 school lunches -- and blogged it


Readers were all over the map both in their assessment of the 162 school lunches in question, and in their evaluation of the school lunches near them. Some were even nostalgic for their childhoods. One might ponder what some commenters noted: that the quality of the food varies from place to place, depending on how each district is set up.


EdTheGeek wrote, "I'm in my late 40s, but I used to love the meat loaf and mashed potatoes with gravy when I was in third grade. I also loved the pizza too. I even like the nasty looking spinach! Those were the days when most of the food was actually cooked/heated up in the school cafeteria and not some offsite kitchen where the food was delivered by van and served in plastic containers. What happened to the school lunch system?"


ElPasoan1 said, "Hey look, us teachers have enough problems keeping parents from blaming us for all of their child's problems. If food is good, then the kids will eat it and get fat. Next, here come the lawsuits just like with Mcdonald's. Be happy your kid has a choice -- to eat or not to eat. I see this as more propaganda to raise prices everywhere and we're using buzz words like, children, hunger, families, and good health to do it. Don't be fooled America!"


Some people said they've tried the school lunches, too. onlyinameric wrote, "I teach at a school that has about 80 percent of its students on free or reduced lunch, and this article is dead on. For many of our students, their free lunch is the only real meal they get all day. The broccoli and rice is always so overcooked as to be mush. The kids won't eat it. Burgers and chicken patties are so hard from overcooking that they are like rubber. Some days the chicken nuggets are pink inside. I ate in the cafeteria for a couple of months and gained 15 pounds. The lunches aren't healthy. Anyone who tells you that their school 'serves fresh fruit and green salads' probably is in a higher income area where parents wouldn't allow such a thing."



YOUR TURN: Now that you've read what other people are saying, do you find that your views align with theirs? Think of this as a wishing well in need of your 2 cents. Post a comment below or sound off on video.


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

January 21, 2011
Click to view illuminnati's profile

No cell phones, No computers, No alcohol, No Kindles, No smoking on flights.  We need quiet restful times on flights.  If people cannot live without their gadgets then let them go through withdrawals on the flights.

January 21, 2011
Click to view illuminnati's profile

Did anyone hear about reading books or magazines?

January 21, 2011
Click to view UND71's profile

Can you just imagine sitting next to some twit who's

constantly talking on his/her phone.  That would be a

flight from hell.  Please crash this flight and finish me

off quickly.

January 21, 2011
Click to view gypkap's profile

Illuminati: Got it in one. When on the plane, be nice to the people next to you. Laptops might be OK if they're quiet. Mine isn't, so I don't use it on a plane. Books, magazines and MP3s should be quiet with earbuds, so no problem.

January 21, 2011
Click to view cocogirl1's profile

People talking on cell phones in close but public quarters tend to exhibit rude behavior, e.g. verbalizing TMI and speaking in too loud voices.  I overheard one man loudly talking about the government files he had on his laptop.  Let's keep the cell phones off the aircraft so the rest of us can relax and enjoy the flight using headsets or earbuds to hear our entertainment.  While we're at it - there's really no room to balance laptops on tray tables in coach, so leave them in the luggage.

January 21, 2011
Click to view Silverwolf22's profile

Fell asleep with my cell and ipod on during takeoff, nothing happened. Checked my cell during the flight, no service, only on final approach did I get reception to make a text message. Imo, no reason to ban them if people are not being a bother to the flight, can't get cell reception at cruising altitude anyways.

January 21, 2011
Click to view countdemonay's profile

Cell phones are enough of an annoyance on the ground with people driving around like idiots crashing into each other while talking on them.

People can do without them for at least a few hours, I mean, c'mon! What would we all do if technology went away tomorrow? I for one, want to be one of the survivors. I like my cell phone, but no, I do not need it attached to my head 24 hours a day.

January 21, 2011
Click to view LecagyGT's profile

Possible dangers aside. Just like talking on your cell phone in a restaurant or movie theater, it's just plain RUDE. No one is so important that they need to be on their phone in those situations. We really don't want to hear about your date, your meeting or your Mom's gall bladder surgery. Turn off the phone, take a nap, read a book or make a new friend. Trust me your fellow passengers will appreciate it.

January 21, 2011
Click to view Yuliq's profile

It's bad enough to have to listen to these people give a play-by-play of their experience in an airport: "We're ready to board. I'm in the plane now. Looking for my seat... waiting to take off..." What next? Guns?

January 21, 2011
Click to view sittinback's profile

Just wait until a cell phone is used to detonate a bomb on U.S. plane, then we will see the FAA crack down like never before. Just think...when that person next to you pulls out their phone...keep your finger crossed that their only intention is to be rude or ignorant. Fly on!

January 21, 2011
Click to view DeeYJ's profile

while i do find my cell phone convenient, i do NOT want to talk on it while sitting very close to others on a plane.  i don't need to text while in flight.  i MIGHT want to read a book on it or use my ipad to read - illuminati, people DO read books and magazines on kindles and other electronic devices!  - but i do NOT want to talk on it nor do i want to hear others talking on theirs.   as for laptops, there are times you just are in crunch mode and need to utilize your time on the plane to work on an ad, line sheet, document, photo manipulation, etc.

January 21, 2011
Click to view jeannettelj's profile

If cell phones are allowed on planes, I won't be flying anywhere. It is bad enough that we have to listen to private phone calls just about everywhere we go and now they want to jabber on planes. I recently was shopping for groceries and a woman was talking non stop on her cell phone. I got fed up listening to her and left the store. We have become a nation of rude, inconsiderate people who are only concerned with themselves.

January 21, 2011
Click to view checkflag's profile

I totally agree on the NO Phone calls on your cell phone. But laptops, MP3 players, iPads or whatever should be fine to use. It's already been proven that these items do not interfere with avionics yet they ask us to turn them off. I like to listen to a good tune during take off and watch my own movies in flight. If the airline could provide interet service that would be great too.

January 21, 2011
Click to view Caon's profile

No planes won't go hurtling out of the sky with phones. So can we please stop attacking people who don't turn their phones off.


That said, if it is appropriate to have a conversation on a cell during a flight is a whole different discussion

January 21, 2011
Click to view plzbreal2's profile

No cell phone conversations during flights! That's just ASKING for trouble!


There cannot be ANYTHING that important for someone to have to conversate audibly with someone for a few hours. Work related? Delegate prior to flight or stay behind and Skype it! Texting would be OK.

January 21, 2011
Click to view kurukthemal's profile

No cell phones on flights!!!!

January 21, 2011
Click to view MrNoSpin's profile

I understand from pilots that there is no longer any danger from using cellphones on flights.  Still though, I would rather they remain banned as sitting next to a cell phony would really suck.

January 21, 2011
Click to view BotchTheCrab's profile

To all you people who are griping about cell phones, laptops and, wow, even kindles on the plane:


I hate your noisy kids. I wish you couldn't bring them on flights.


I hate your friendly conversations with the family member, friend, lover or new acquaintance you are sitting beside. Even if you're not especially loud, I just hate listening to you. It's actually worse than a cell phone, because I have to hear BOTH halves of the conversation.


You see, it's not the gadget, it's the person. If I'm respectfully quiet, why shouldn't I be able to talk to my wife or friends? And I have no idea why toneless texting would bother you. Are you just irked? Believe me, it's not as irksome as I find your children.


So two things: One, someone can be either rude or respectful with or without technology to aid them. If someone is annoying you, ask them to stop. It's part of being an adult. Two, be mindful that what one person finds acceptable another might find grating. Even without a cell phone, YOU might be the one that your fellow passengers can't stand.

January 21, 2011
Click to view Skeptica's profile

Allow using cell phones in flight only when loaded guns can be carried on board so you can shoot the girl next seat that annoys you to death with her conversations.

January 21, 2011
Click to view pilgrim49's profile

You know who fill half the seats on a weekday flight? Salesmen! I can't think of anything more miserable than being surrounded by loud-mouthed salesmen hawking whatever crap they sell. I vote no!

January 21, 2011
Click to view bigsilk's profile

No, no, no. It's bad enough some fat@ss that smells like fried bologna and Brut underarm deodorant is taking up half my seat with an arm as big around as an oil barrel. I surely don't want to have it say things that I really, really don't care about.

January 21, 2011
Click to view drcid777's profile

Violent incidences on airlines will increase exponentially but it won't have anything to do with terrorism. Being trapped in a small space with 200 people talking at the same time on cells, with 25% being loud and inconsiderate is quite different from being anywhere else where you can get away at some point. In 1995 no one had cell phones. We can wait two hours.

No! No! No!

January 21, 2011
Click to view djdanska's profile

YES!! But with one restriction. NO VOICE! Just data and text messaging. Me browsing the web on my HD2 won't distract anybody next to me.

January 22, 2011
Click to view ScottNH's profile

So, I shouldn't be able to use a cell phone, do important work on my computer, drink a glass of wine, or use a Kindle because all those things bother Illuminnati? Well, books and magazines bother me and I don't believe Illuminnati should be allowed to bring them on-board.

January 22, 2011
Click to view RESTOMAN's profile


January 22, 2011
Click to view GusinCA's profile

Texting ok, and phone on vibrate so you don't have 20 message beeps going off every minute. No voice calls.

January 22, 2011
Click to view ClarkNova's profile

I'm against it but it doesn't affect me. I've stopped flying.

January 22, 2011
Click to view exhungarian's profile

So, we all now know that there are times within the duration of a flight that cell phone or other RF signal could, possibly, have an effect on some lone control within the aircraft itself causing possible problems for the flight with consequences, including but not limited to, instant, or prolonged death. 


So, my personal approach is not to fly commercial planes and if necessary, keep my cell phone stowed away in the least harmful way as a gesture toward the possibility dying for no good reason.  Its bad enough to take the risk of flying commercial anyway, in these days and times, but, to willingly spin a roulette wheel for horrible, needless death because i had to check my email of something stupid like that.


By the way, just turn it off...

January 22, 2011
Click to view ShutUPorDIE's profile

Why is this even a question?  Who gets a signal to text or voice call at cruising altitudes? 


I am a frequent flyer at about 100 flights per year. Cell phones and all other electronics must be off during takeoff and landing. This is so passengers can hear the safety briefing and be alert in case there is an emergency announcement. Headphones or earplugs in the ears during takeoff and landing are also prohibited.


After the plane reaches 10,000 feet, you are allowed to turn your cell phone on and most other electronics. I use my to listen to MP3s and review email. If the FAA did allow users to make a call, it would only be when the airplane is above 10,000 feet. In this case, 2 miles above the ground and moving at 400 mph, you will not maintain cell coverage. The airlines nor the FAA are blocking your signal. Instead, it is your mobile service provider that is not providing you cell coverage for this scenario.


I said I use my cellphone to listen to MP3s. I do place the phone in airplane mode disconnect my cell connection, so that my phone battery is not drained looking for a signal the entire flight. Leaving it on will not bring down the plane, but any transmitting device does have the ability to interfere with other transmitting devices.  This could disrupt communication between the cockpit and air traffic control, but unlikely to affect air operations.  Similar to the cordless phone in your home interfering with you wifi, not all wireless devices are compatible with each other because of frequency allocation.  But you can leave it on and you may get a phantom ring, or inconsistently receive a text or email when flying over populated areas. No matter how important that email is to you, it means nothing to everyone else. You can learn a loved one was just in a terrible accident and might not make it, and you are 3 hours from landing at your layover destination in Dallas. You will sit on the plane and sob, with no ability to reply back or spread the word. You will be helpless until you land.... I would rather just listen to my music and drift in and out of a jagged sleep.


You say, wait, some planes offer wifi service for a fee. This is true. And this service is provided via satellite. There are expenses using SATCOM communications and that is why they charge a fee. Right now, the plane has satellite communications for navigation, command and control, and mission related data transfer. There is enough bandwidth available that they can offer wifi to their users over a private network on the plane, through the same communication link (but different channel).


In the past, some planes had phones built into the facing passengers headrest or arm rest. No one used them because the call was $10 per minute. The cost was high because the calls went over the same satellite links they are now using for wifi. 


The rules are consistent among the airlines, and aircraft manufactures. The FAA sets the rules of minimum enforcement.


What was the question again?  Should cell phones be allowed on airplanes?  First, the cell service providers need to provide cell service to the 40,000 foot mark approx 8 miles up. A technology that is not yet available for a reasonable price and one that only serves the needs or wants of a handful of people. And it wont be the airline charging the premimum, it will be your cell provider. SATCOM is still a possibility, but it failed once, and has not gotten any cheaper.

January 22, 2011
Click to view blackvyper's profile

I don't want a Sky Marshall to shoot me in the back because I'm strangling the sh*t out of some annoying cell phone talking passenger.  To all of you contemplating such a thing, think about someone like me who might be sitting next to you... just waiting to SNAP!

January 22, 2011
Click to view ramajr2's profile

Should technology dictate the way we live? All this electronic gadgetry is fantastic, but it is changing the way we interact with other people and the environment. At the end of the day we need to question whether all of this stuff is a means to achieve a goal, or we have become so dependent of it, that we are either addicts or slaves to it.

January 22, 2011
Click to view shag11's profile

Hell no. It annoys the hell out me now, to be in any public, when someone's on their cell, and have to listen to their private conversations. HELL NO, to cell phone on planes.

January 22, 2011
Click to view inciteful's profile

This waffling by the FAA is total crap. It either is safe to use a cell phone on an airplane or it's not. Many people believe that such rules are made for a legitimate safety reason. So, when some passengers don't follow the rules, others become anxious. People with varying philosophies and mindsets are confined on the same airplane. Some are of the opinion that rules mean nothing while others follow them, again, under the belief that the rules exist for a legitimate reason. The FAA needs to stop this bureaucratic crap and either allow the use of cell phones or put in place significant consequences for noncompliance.

January 22, 2011
Click to view Frank9875's profile

I'm with everyone that hates cell phones, with the critical exception if I need to make or receive a call. If I'm in the plane more than an hour, I may need to find out about some important business message. What we don't need is pointless social chatter, and I'll be the judge of that, Thankx.

January 22, 2011
Click to view B33tle's profile

If your business message is so important, take a bus, or have the company car take you.  If you must fly, take the corporate jet.  Otherwise leave the phone off, which would be appreciated by all those sitting around you who aren't the least impressed that some jerk just got a phone call.

January 22, 2011
Click to view MyCNN2cents's profile

Just ANOTHER reason why I don't fly!

January 22, 2011
Click to view RichardsDad's profile

I have no objection whatsoever to being stuck in cattle car seating on a plane with people yelling on cell phones all around me:  I will be eating lots and lots of pork and beans before the flight.

January 22, 2011
Click to view nomorfudgclz's profile

to illuminnati: How about we give YOU a tranquilizer and YOU won't be bothered at all. You being so special and all.


You and your ludditic, xenophobic pals should just stay away from airplanes, public places and anywhere else you'll be annoyed by the rest of us.

January 22, 2011
Click to view nomorfudgclz's profile

to Frank9875: Then here's to hoping you're not an actual judge, of anything other than a hot dog eating contest. The next guy's business is of no consequence to you, so surely the next person's unnecessary banter to your jurisprudence, will appear to be just that. Awesome way to live!


January 22, 2011
Click to view madashl's profile

Pleas, please, please, no phones on planes. Has anyone ever sat next to two businessmen on a 10 hour flight discussing their next move in the company... no phones on airplanes!!! I fly (for pleasure) often and the thought of 300 of my fellow passengers talking about 300 different subjects is beyond scary.

January 22, 2011
Click to view qqqqqjim's profile

Only if they allow me to sit next to that guy who smacked that teen punk around when he wouldn't turn off his phone.  My hero!

January 22, 2011
Click to view skyjmpr's profile

No cell phones, please!  If I'm going to be confined in a cramped space with complete strangers for hours, I really should NOT be forced to listen to pointless yapping the entire time.  And let's face it folks, 99% of cell phone calls are just that: pointless yapping.  NO ONE IS SO IMPORTANT that they MUST receive a phone call, whether personal or business.  If it is really critical (family emergency is about the only example that I can think of off the top of my head), there are other means for people to reach you while in flight.


Read a frikkin' book...

January 22, 2011
Click to view JAPLVR's profile

NO cellphones for three reasons, in order of importance:


1) They can be chucked through the cabin during turbulence or a crash landing causing injury. EVERYTHING should be stowed during taxi/take-off and landing especially!


2) They are a nuisance to passengers crammed in the seat adjoining. Some people actually want a quiet flight. Crying babies are already a nuisance, lets not add to it!


3) There is a very small and unlikely chance that anything (not just cellphones) that transmits a signal could interfere with aircraft navigation or communications. Does anyone remember the Teneriff Disaster with the two 747s???


So, just STOP people. Turn your cellphones off and put them away as you have been told. Enough is enough with trying to be rebellious and prove something! We all know how reactive our country is as it is, this is one proactive rule that could potentially save your life--and perhaps your sanity in the short-term.

January 22, 2011
Click to view cnaxw0's profile


You can't leave if your annoyed! What do you do then? Start beating the cell phone user with your pillow until they stop talking!

January 22, 2011
Click to view sj6x's profile

I'm always paranoid that something will go wrong at takeoff, so I always make a 911 call in my pocket right as the flight is taking off, knowing that they always record the phone calls. This way they have audio in case something goes wrong and can be at the scene quicker. 

January 23, 2011
Click to view DANHAS's profile

yeah I guess it is but you know it is good to be in touch with family and friends

January 23, 2011
Click to view ranikolova's profile

1) Using a cell phone is against regulations.

2) There is a large amount of people in a small place. The chances of annoying people up to violence are increasing very fast.

3) I cant imagine something so important that it cannot wait until the flight is over. Trust me, every thing is as important as you can made it. At the end, no one talks about things so important that they cannot wait.

4) People are using cell phones for making themselves more important than they are. And during a flight cell phones are a danger for the electronics.

5) And I cant imagine having a good connention during a flight. No antennas in the sky:-)




January 24, 2011
Click to view na73x's profile

SJ6X - Making a 911 call every time you take off just to satisfy your paranoia is pointless. Ever heard of the Cockpit Voice Recorder? The FAA will already know what happened and why.

To those that fear any RF device interferes with the aircraft's avionics: Sorry ... it doesn't or at least nothing put on the market in the past 15 years does; the avionics are shielded against RF and phone technology has advanced like Moore's Law.

Having said that, I agree with leaving phones OFF because it's bad enough to ride in an elevator with some twit that couldn't wait 10 minutes to get home; imagine 300 of your closest friends all talking in meaningless conversations at FL30 (30,000 feet) and some folks just get LOUD on a cell phone. Nope ... I'll take my book and my iPod (above FL10) or catch some snooze time.

January 25, 2011
Click to view 10001NYC's profile

I was on a flight from Las Vegas to NYC yesterday and a woman sitting 2 rows ahead of me was talking on her phone so loudly you would have thought she was using 2 tin cans connected by string.  (Thanks Sports Illustrated, BTW, she was your employee.  I know this because she insisted on shouting into her phone and sharing her conversation with the entire cabin.)  She entered the plane talking and continued to talk as we sat waiting to take off – well after the announcement was made to turn off your phone.  She immediately started up again when we landed. The last thing anyone wants is to be subjected to someone else’s inane conversation.  A small enclosed space like an airplane is NOT the place for a cell phone. I’ll add, if you were the woman in seat 3C on my flight, show a little consideration next time.  We all heard your conversation and there was absolutely nothing said that could not have been said prior to or after our flight.

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