When A Phone Is Not A Phone

So we all know we have to turn our cell phones off in flight, but what if you’re using a cell phone as an MP3 player? Or watching a movie on it?

CNET has a story based on a Consumerist blog entry about a passenger who said an ATA flight attendant had him questioned by airport police because he refused to stop watching a movie on his iPhone during a flight. The iPhone was in "airplane mode," the passenger said, with all the communication signals turned off.

I suppose that if you believed cell phone signals could interfere with airplane electronics, you could argue that  flight attendants can’t be expected to know how to check whether those signals have been shut off on every conceivable model of phone. Hence, it might be reasonable to require that all phones be kept off, no matter how they’re being used.

If, on the other hand, you believe there’s not one shred of evidence that cell phones interfere with flight operations, you might conclude there’s no point in questioning a passenger who is using a cell phone for anything besides talking. You might conclude that the flight attendant was being a jerk.

In any event, the passenger said the cops let him go.


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