Using (cellular) mobile phone during flight

52 replies

Sibelius

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 06 Aug 2017

Total posts 95

Earlier tonight I flew SYD-MEL. Just after the cabin crew had finished their final walkthrough before landing, the passenger across the aisle from me got out his phone and started reading, and sending, SMS and emails. There was no internet on the flight so I can only assume he was using his cellular (phone) connection. This is not the first time I have seen a passenger using his mobile phone/cellular data during a flight. How much of a big deal is this? Was the passenger genuinely endangering the people on board? What should I have done?

I did report the passenger to a member of the cabin crew as we were disembarking, and while she did say "He really shouldn't have been doing that", she didn't seem overly concerned.
I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts! Was what happened a major concern?

rwSydney

British Airways - Executive Club

Member since 23 Mar 2018

Total posts 32

I don’t see how it can be a major risk if you are allowed to bring the phone on board in the first place. Things that can endanger people’s lives (knives, guns, sharp objects etc) are banned from aircraft cabins. If mobile phones were a major hazard then surely the risk would be too great to allow them in the cabin at all.


Mobile phones/handheld devices are allowed to be used in flight mode at all times on most flights these days. Flight attendants don’t go round and check every passenger’s mobile is on flight mode prior to take off so who knows how many people are sending text messages, emails etc once the plane has left the gate.

My understanding of why mobiles should not be used is that they can interfere with the radio transmitters in the flight deck. I guess they rarely do, as I have never heard a captain make an announcement saying that their radio transmitter isn’t working properly due to mobile use!

Mr Miyagi Banned

Mr Miyagi Banned

Member since 18 Jan 2018

Total posts 4

No evidence that cellular phone use puts passengers at risk.

Last editedby Chris Chamberlin at Apr 23, 2018, 09:21 AM.

patrickk

Qantas

Member since 19 Apr 2012

Total posts 489

I think the issue is one of volume. If everybody has it on there may be electronic interference but one or two my have little effect. I have seen cabin crew tell people to turn them off and there was story of a seeing business men or poltician being kicked off a flight for talking on ther phone after being told not to. The issue of no evidence is a good thing, as it is precuationary principle. Avoiding cases that provides evidence. People should not take bags on emergency evacuations but they do. Nobody has been killed YET, but that does not mean it is safe to do so.

GBRGB

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 21 Jan 2014

Total posts 245

Happens a lot, as long as people aren’t talking on it I really don’t care, I am sure if it was a real concern the airlines would make more of an issue out of it.

Mr Miyagi Banned

Mr Miyagi Banned

Member since 18 Jan 2018

Total posts 4

I think the issue is one of volume. If everybody has it on there may be electronic interference but one or two my have little effect. I have seen cabin crew tell people to turn them off and there was story of a seeing business men or poltician being kicked off a flight for talking on ther phone after being told not to. The issue of no evidence is a good thing, as it is precuationary principle. Avoiding cases that provides evidence. People should not take bags on emergency evacuations but they do. Nobody has been killed YET, but that does not mean it is safe to do so.

Bad analogy. The act of taking bags requires additional time. It is reasonable to infer additional risk resulting from delayed evacuation arising from this.


On the other hand there is ZERO evidence that modern cellular devices have any appreciable impact on modern flight equipment.

watson374

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 17 Aug 2012

Total posts 1,293

Earlier tonight I flew SYD-MEL. Just after the cabin crew had finished their final walkthrough before landing, the passenger across the aisle from me got out his phone and started reading, and sending, SMS and emails. There was no internet on the flight so I can only assume he was using his cellular (phone) connection.


Was the passenger across the aisle actually on a data connection, though? It is possible to 'send' messages and emails while offline; they just sit in the outbox until the connection is reestablished.

rob01

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 10 Nov 2011

Total posts 94

It's just rude really. Like it or not you're in a regulated environment where you are obliged to follow the directions of cabin crew. It's a display of self importance.

Ozshanel

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 08 Dec 2014

Total posts 9

The main reason you should switch your phone to flight mode is BECAUSE YOU WERE ASKED TO!! The arrogance of some people who think that certain rules shouldn’t apply to them astounds me. Just because you don’t know the reason for something doesn’t mean you just get to ignore it.

Sibelius

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 06 Aug 2017

Total posts 95

Earlier tonight I flew SYD-MEL. Just after the cabin crew had finished their final walkthrough before landing, the passenger across the aisle from me got out his phone and started reading, and sending, SMS and emails. There was no internet on the flight so I can only assume he was using his cellular (phone) connection.


Was the passenger across the aisle actually on a data connection, though? It is possible to 'send' messages and emails while offline; they just sit in the outbox until the connection is reestablished.

Yes, he seemed to be downloading and receiving messages as well as sending them -- so it looked like he was on a cellular data connection.

Mr Miyagi Banned

Mr Miyagi Banned

Member since 18 Jan 2018

Total posts 4

Agree that phones should be put in flight mode if directed by crew.

Last editedby Chris Chamberlin at Apr 23, 2018, 11:04 AM.

ausJCP

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 28 Aug 2014

Total posts 126

A consumer cell phone doesn't interfere with the navigation equipment of a three hundred million dollar airplane. It's not a grey area, it just simply does not. There is no evidence to the contrary, and it's not for lack of investigation. In fact, some airlines (e.g. Emirates) already allow passengers to SMS and make / receive phone calls during flight on their personal devices using cell service.

Let your fingers do the walking, and research this information online for yourself. Think rationally; if they were a genuine threat to aviation safety, they would not be allowed in the main cabin. (A satellite phone is a different story, of course, as is a radio transmitter.)

It's probably hard to know with certainty if the pax on your flight was using his cellular service, or just fiddling with his phone... but I do imagine that blatantly using the cellular service of a mobile phone would contribute to the anxiety of neighboring passengers, and should not be done for that reason alone.

That being said, I'd be lying if I said I've never switched my phone off flight mode as we were on the approach to landing. And I've frequently seen flight crew doing the same thing from their galley jump-seats. I'm sure a decent proportion of the plane is doing the same thing.

My advice is to let it go.

MarkJohnSon Banned

MarkJohnSon Banned

Member since 19 Jan 2018

Total posts 41

I've been using my mobile phone on planes as and when I please ever since I've had one. It's completely fine.

Last editedby Chris Chamberlin at Apr 23, 2018, 10:59 AM.

Randomtraveller

Member since 14 Dec 2017

Total posts 14

Just after the cabin crew had finished their final walkthrough before landing

I would be so happy to have cellular reception at 5000m height.

mannej

QF

Member since 21 May 2014

Total posts 173

Are there any pilots on here making comments about interference, or is it armchair experts?

IMHO, the reason why the FA rolled their eyes at your comments is that you waited until you were disembarking before you reported it. What realistically are they meant to do at that point in time?

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