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FAA's Ruling On Smartphones During Takeoff Has Had Little Impact

Soulskill posted about three weeks ago | from the or-we're-just-used-to-hiding-it dept.

Cellphones 128

colinneagle writes: Airlines have seen almost no increase in the use of smartphones, tablets, and laptops among passengers since the Federal Aviation Administration ruled in October that they are now allowed to do so during takeoff and landing, a recent study found. Over a four month period observed by DePaul University's Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development this year, 35.9% of passengers used mobile devices at any point during the flight. In last year's study, while flight attendants still patrolled the aisles for devices that hadn't been shut off, 35.3% of passengers used devices during flight. Chaddick Institute director Joseph Schwieterman said many people may not be interested in using their mobile devices in-flight, and are simply excited for an opportunity to "use the time to sleep and chill out." Another contributing factor is the stipulation to the FAA's rule that still bans the use of smartphones for making phone calls or send text messages, the report noted. That may change soon, however. The FAA recently received public comment on a proposal to lift its ban on in-flight cellphone communications service, which has been in place since 1991.

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128 comments

If they approve allowing calls on planes... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47372307)

That will be the last time I fly commercial. The LAST thing I want to do is be couped up in an aluminum can for 1+ hours listening to half of other people's mindless drivel conversations on their phones. It's already bad enough the second the plane hits the runway on landing everyone pulls out their phones to call people. And they don't just have the "ok we just landed I'll meet you out front in 20 minutes" short talk. - No it turns into long drawn out annoying conversations hat CERTAINLY can wait until they are off the plane to have.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (1)

pedrop357 (681672) | about three weeks ago | (#47372355)

You can always pick the airline that doesn't allow calls.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (3, Insightful)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about three weeks ago | (#47372381)

You can always pick the airline that doesn't allow calls.

And when there are no such airlines left, then what?

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47372579)

Deal with it? Implying airlines won't manage to find a way to accommodate prima donnas with a cell phone free seating section.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47373671)

I see you don't travel much. It sucks bad enough when people are minding their own business, I don't need to hear your unimportant conversation as well while I'm trying to listen to a movie or maybe trying to sleep.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47374023)

I travel plenty - and who cares.
|_|_|

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (4, Informative)

rworne (538610) | about three weeks ago | (#47373897)

Several airlines now have in-flight WiFi and while the bandwidth is crappy, you could use it for VOIP. The two airlines I have flown on that have this (Lufthansa and United) both expressly forbid the use of Skype and voice apps for the very reason you state - it annoys other passengers.

Here's what Lufthansa has to say about it:

The option of making mobile phone calls has been disabled in response to the wishes of a majority of our customers. In addition, customers are advised that Internet telephony (VOIP) is likewise not permitted.

And United:

It is against United policy to allow videoconferencing or voice communications in flight. Live video and Internet streaming services are not supported.

I have the same concerns you do, but this is one thing the airlines so far have gotten right.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (0)

stealth_finger (1809752) | about three weeks ago | (#47374479)

Several airlines now have in-flight WiFi and while the bandwidth is crappy, you could use it for VOIP. The two airlines I have flown on that have this (Lufthansa and United) both expressly forbid the use of Skype and voice apps for the very reason you state - it annoys other passengers.

Here's what Lufthansa has to say about it:

The option of making mobile phone calls has been disabled in response to the wishes of a majority of our customers. In addition, customers are advised that Internet telephony (VOIP) is likewise not permitted.

And United:

It is against United policy to allow videoconferencing or voice communications in flight. Live video and Internet streaming services are not supported.

I have the same concerns you do, but this is one thing the airlines so far have gotten right.

I never understood this, I can chat to the guy next to me, even over the aisle and no one gives a shit. Put it on a phone and everyone freaks out. Is it because you can only evesdrop and half my conversation than annoys you so much?

Who was the guy who said it interrupts him watching videos? Maybe we don't want to listen to what ever shit you happen to be watching, also that's what headphones are for fuckwit.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (3, Insightful)

Imrik (148191) | about three weeks ago | (#47374539)

People tend to talk louder on the phone.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (1)

dave420 (699308) | about three weeks ago | (#47374645)

Instead of "conversation", think of "piece of music", and then figure out why it might be jarring to be exposed to only half of it, in sporadic sections.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | about three weeks ago | (#47374693)

Think background noise, which is what it is, and tune it out. Thinking of it as music implies you want to listen to it.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (2)

richlv (778496) | about three weeks ago | (#47374765)

a) too many people fucking shout in their stupid phones. then there are the retards who put the mobile on loudspeaker and hold it near their waist. and shout (this seems to be an american thing, though).
b) psychologically, one-sided conversions are more annoying : http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/... [nytimes.com]
c) it's less likely for two unstoppable speakers to sit next to each other. one person will likely get tired. unstoppable idiot will all everybody they know.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about three weeks ago | (#47374999)

When talking to someone else on the aircraft you are both in the same noisy environment and can adjust your volume levels to the minimum required. When talking on the phone you only have the tiny phone speaker that gets drowned out by wind/engine noise, so you tend to shout in order to "compensate". It's the same thing as people wearing headphones shouting because they can't hear you. It just be some kind of flaw in the way humans process that sensory input.

Talking relatively quietly to your neighbour is fine. Shouting into a phone is annoying.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (2)

stealth_finger (1809752) | about three weeks ago | (#47374467)

You can always pick the airline that doesn't allow calls.

And when there are no such airlines left, then what?

You could always shove the inflight meal in your ears.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (2, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about three weeks ago | (#47372389)

No airline will ban phones being used for calls, and even if they do make such a ban, if there's no law against it then that won't stop passengers from doing it despite such a ban as there won't be much recourse.

The abusers will be the business/sales frequent fliers, and worse, they'll be just as angry or harried or aggressive on the phone during the flight as they are before the cabin door is closed and as soon as the aircraft touches down. And since those are the passengers that earn the airlines the most consistent revenue stream through their frequent patronage they'll be allowed to get away with it.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (0)

puto (533470) | about three weeks ago | (#47372443)

I fly internationally and nationally quite a bit, and I work for a major cell co in the US. The majority of the people I see on planes using their phones are young kids and entitled soccer moms.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (1)

TWX (665546) | about three weeks ago | (#47372479)

I've had a couple years where I flew six trips per year. My wife had a couple of years where she flew probably fifteen trips. The harried sales type was common on my flights and she's commented on such too. Usually agitated because something in a sales presentation wasn't ready or something.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47372459)

Those aluminum cans you mention fly above 30,000 feet. 1-2W smart phone transmitters can't actually blast through the fuselage, down through 6 miles of atmosphere and reach a tower.

Physics and shit.

Now I suppose they might put mini base stations in the planes, but using it will cost, so it won't be used a lot. Not much more than the mostly unused in-seat phones they've had one some commercial aircraft for years, anyhow.

So chill out.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (1, Informative)

PRMan (959735) | about three weeks ago | (#47372495)

9/11 confirms your claims...in the negative. Many people made calls that day when they knew they were going to die.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47372537)

Those planes were at low altitude to evade radar and attack surface structures. Ordinary airline flights don't cruise around a 1000 feet.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47373255)

That is true. Tried it a few times at altitude - mostly no dice. Occasionally I can get an e-mail or a text message through. In my own airplane, at 5,000 feet above ground, I got it to work in some places. I hear it's better in Europe than in North America, possibly due to a better radiation pattern of base stations.

If I get affordable internet on commercial flights, I'm happy. I can do without voice calls for a few hours.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (5, Insightful)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | about three weeks ago | (#47372649)

Step 1: Get a smartphone for yourself and put music on it.
Step 2: Get in-ear earbuds that filter out most ambient noise.
Step 3: Press Play.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (0)

geekoid (135745) | about three weeks ago | (#47372987)

So you solution to other people being intrusive is to put shit in my ears?
IS that what you think when you neighbor cranks his music at 3AM? well, I guess I'll just put my earbuds in. herp, derp.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47373593)

It's a plane that other people are also paying to travel on, not your home. Grow up.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47373687)

Exactly, it's a public place, try not to be a dick to everybody around you. I don't want to hear it, and none of the 200 other people want to hear it. It's not your home, be considerate to those around you. It's not difficult. At least in a park I have the option to walk away.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47374325)

You're the one who is being intrusive. You want to ban talking in public. A plane is not your fucking home. How is a plane different from a bar, a street, a train? People communicate, get used to it.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47374917)

I go to a bar for the social interaction : if I just wanted a drink, filling my fridge comes cheaper. Doesn't make the yelling half-drunk guy next seat any less annoying.

Regarding this point it's exactly the same as a train. I'm here to travel, not to learn what you have to tell people I don't know. Please don't mind me pissing in a bottle and commenting on the smell of my asshole if you do.

You're the one who is being intrusive. You want to ban pissing in public. A plane is not your fucking home. How is a plane different from a toilet, a wall, a train? People piss, get used to it.

Preemptive FTFY

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about three weeks ago | (#47374681)

You're solution to other people exercising their right to simply speak is to restrict their right to speak?
And you're comparing talking on a mobile phone during the day in a public area to blasting music at 3AM?

I'm not sure if I should call you a Nazi or a deranged old timer who really needs to be put on meds. Maybe try tapping those damn bastards who dare to speak with a broom that will sort them out.

Re: If they approve allowing calls on planes... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47372851)

The only reason for the government to ban cell phone use in flight is that they are dangerous. They are not. Your personal sensibilities are irrelevant. If airlines wish to prohibit that activity that is their business (and I would support it) but you do NOT get to use your dislike of something to continue an edict that we've known serves no purpose for some time now.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47372891)

It doesn't matter how annoying being couped up with people yaking on a cell phone might be, that doesn't justify the FAA keeping it illegal. The FAA's jurisdiction is only over the safety of airplane flight, and if they are confident the cell phones won't disrupt the airplane's systems, there is no reason for continuing to make it illegal.

That, of course, doesn't mean the airplanes can't have their own policies in place banning disruptive behavior, and the FAA can impose civil penalties [criminalde...lawyer.com] for "interfering with a flight attendant", which includes disobeying repeated requests from said flight attendants. These civil penalties can be up to $25000 per infraction.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47373557)

That will be the last time I fly commercial. The LAST thing I want to do is be couped up in an aluminum can for 1+ hours listening to half of other people's mindless drivel conversations on their phones.

So I take it you never use the bus or train for commuting.

Re: If they approve allowing calls on planes... (1)

RiscIt (95258) | about three weeks ago | (#47373571)

It's a moot point. For the time being, there isn't a whole lot of coverage at 39,000 ft anyway.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47373689)

I take Amtrak between NY and DC about once every two months and I fly around the US about the same amount. People on their phones talking loud on the Amtrak train is very annoying. What's funny is on Amtak, you can swing some of the seats to face each other and there are often groups of four people who traveling together sitting restaurant table style facing each other having a meeting amongst themselves. Those people do not bother me, it is always casual low volume discussion between them. For some reason, the random idiot on his cell phone talking to someone has to yell and you can hear him/her from three or four aisles away.
I would hate to be on a plane listening to some salesman talking to his partner for the whole trip on his phone. Amtrak does have a quite car. Planes won't

I have flown at least 6 times since they relaxed the power down restrictions. I take advantage of that by listening to my headphones plugged into my smartphone as soon as we pull away from the gate instead of having waiting to hear the 2 dings about 10 minutes into the flight that triggers the announcements like they had before.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (2)

rworne (538610) | about three weeks ago | (#47373929)

In Japan I was expecting the trains would be horrible - in the tech-crazed society, everyone would have a phone...

Much to my surprise, the trains have posted notices that tell passengers to mute their phones and refrain from talking. If you are by the seats reserved for the elderly or disabled, you are required to turn your phone off. In the latter case I never saw anyone do that - but they did not take out their phone and play with them.

On the last trip, my wife got a call while on the train. She quietly told the other party that we had arrived in country and would be there soon and hung up. I was sitting next to her and could barely hear her speak. The other passengers in the car were staring daggers at her.

On the trains no one talks on the phone. Though everyone uses them for chat, games, reading, and the occasional creepshot.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (1)

paulpach (798828) | about three weeks ago | (#47373773)

That will be the last time I fly commercial. The LAST thing I want to do is be couped up in an aluminum can for 1+ hours listening to half of other people's mindless drivel conversations on their phones. It's already bad enough the second the plane hits the runway on landing everyone pulls out their phones to call people. And they don't just have the "ok we just landed I'll meet you out front in 20 minutes" short talk. - No it turns into long drawn out annoying conversations hat CERTAINLY can wait until they are off the plane to have.

I suppose it is impossible for you to ever take a train or long bus trip. Should we ban cell phones from them too?

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about three weeks ago | (#47374065)

That will be the last time I fly commercial. The LAST thing I want to do is be couped up in an aluminum can for 1+ hours listening to half of other people's mindless drivel conversations on their phones. It's already bad enough the second the plane hits the runway on landing everyone pulls out their phones to call people. And they don't just have the "ok we just landed I'll meet you out front in 20 minutes" short talk. - No it turns into long drawn out annoying conversations hat CERTAINLY can wait until they are off the plane to have.

Well, the good news is well, it's likely to NOT happen because the way the airlines will do it is you roam onto the airplane's microcell.

Just like you can use your cellphone on a cruise ship (the "Cellular at Sea" carrier, anyone?), these are extra-territorial cells run by ripoff companies that really ding you. And they make NO roaming agreements with anyone, knowing they have a captive audience and they can really charge you. So no travel plans you may engage in covers it (check it out - they specifically say "not on boats"). In fact, if you REALLY had to use it, you would probably be better off getting a Globalstar or Iridium satellite phone - it's cheaper.

You phone really won't want to roam on it because it's not on any preferred list of roaming towers.

So if you whip out your phone, see "Cellular int he air" or whatever, and smirk at the guy trying to do sweet nothings knowing he's probably paying $2-5/minute for the privilege. (That's $120-300/hr). Even worse, your carrier will have to pay the ripoff company the full rate because there's no discounted roaming agreement, so no chance to plead innocence and have them knock the $2000+ bill to something decent.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about three weeks ago | (#47374179)

That will be the last time I fly commercial. The LAST thing I want to do is be couped up in an aluminum can for 1+ hours listening to half of other people's mindless drivel conversations on their phones. It's already bad enough the second the plane hits the runway on landing everyone pulls out their phones to call people. And they don't just have the "ok we just landed I'll meet you out front in 20 minutes" short talk. - No it turns into long drawn out annoying conversations hat CERTAINLY can wait until they are off the plane to have.

In-flight phones in the back of the seat have been available for years. Were in-flight calls a problem for other passengers, you'd think we would have realized it by now.

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47374311)

This may be a foreign concept to you, but humans are social beings. We talk. If you don't want to hear people talking, how about some cotton?

Re:If they approve allowing calls on planes... (1)

dave420 (699308) | about three weeks ago | (#47374835)

You're half-way there... We are indeed social animals, and we are inherently tuned to respond to talking. The problem with hearing a phone call is you only hear one half, so the natural rhythm of talking is disrupted to the point of being jarring, as there are long periods of silence in the middle of a conversation, and to make matters worse, said conversation is often louder than normal, due to the inherent shortcomings of microphones, speakers/headphones and voice transmission.

Point? (5, Informative)

Chuckstar (799005) | about three weeks ago | (#47372321)

I'm not sure I understand the point. I don't remember anyone claiming that more people would use mobile devices on planes if they could use them during taxi and takeoff. It seemed it was always just that the people who were already using devices on planes wanted to also be able to use them during taxi and takeoff.

Exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47372349)

Before, 0.1% used theirs during takeoff and landing. Now 35% or whatever do. I'm sure plenty of people use their iPhones or Androids in a sort of stealth mode as music players.

Re: Exactly (1)

Chuckstar (799005) | about three weeks ago | (#47372401)

The study only observed how many people used devices some time during the flight. It didn't particularly focus on during take-of/landing/taxi. So all it means is that allowing use during those extra times doesn't encourage the 65% who weren't using their devices to suddenly start using their devices. In other words, not a lot of people were saying "if I can't use it during takeoff, the I won't use it at all."

Was this unexpected? (4, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | about three weeks ago | (#47372337)

We expected the new rules to increase the use of devices during takeoff/landing from 0% to not-0%... not increase the use of devices in general.

Re:Was this unexpected? (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about three weeks ago | (#47372453)

Exactly. The numbers in the summary are irrelevant with regards to the impact of the lifting of the ban.

Re:Was this unexpected? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47373641)

You might expect a slight increase. Knowing that I can use my ebook reader during takeoff and landing makes me slightly more likely to bring it instead of a dead trees book.

Lack of Data (1)

Ksevio (865461) | about three weeks ago | (#47372341)

The lack of data services makes them not such an attractive option. The expensive in-flight wifi doesn't really cut it.

More interesting statistics would be the number of people that use devices at all during the flight, though that would be more difficult to determine.

Do people even know the ban has been lifted? (2)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about three weeks ago | (#47372345)

n/t see subject

Re: Do people even know the ban has been lifted? (1)

xaxa (988988) | about three weeks ago | (#47372483)

I think so. The safety briefing / video has been changed in Europe to explain when "small electronic devices" may be used etc.

Re:Do people even know the ban has been lifted? (1)

fistfullast33l (819270) | about three weeks ago | (#47372489)

I've flown a few times since the ban was lifted. Airlines are pretty clear during the stewardess briefings what is allowed and not allowed. You can use your phone but only in airplane mode. They've updated their safety videos to include it as well in some cases.

The international flights are fun as some countries haven't lifted the ban so you never know what they're going to do. The ones I've flown don't allow it when taking off in another country, but do allow it when taking off in the US.

Re:Do people even know the ban has been lifted? (1)

TheGavster (774657) | about three weeks ago | (#47373027)

This is actually the first real word I'd seen on it. I flew back in May and remember not hearing a notice when we crossed 10k feet that we could use devices, but just figured that I'd missed it. The cool part to watch out the windows is under 10k anyway :P

He apparently doesn't fly (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47372363)

to "use the time to sleep and chill out."
Seriously?!

Anecdotal but just flew cross coast twice last week and chilling out in my designated sq ft of cabin room did not inspire ant sense of chilling out. If not for the games, movies, content on my kids &I iPads, it would have been an almost unendurable human "trash compactor" experience. Yes I'm talking to you united airlines.

Re:He apparently doesn't fly (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | about three weeks ago | (#47372377)

:: shrug :: I've flown over 150k miles over the past decade and I can count the number of times I've been awake during take-off on one hand. Then again, I take the 6AM flights which means I've been up since 2-3AM.

Re:He apparently doesn't fly (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about three weeks ago | (#47372817)

After flying on a domestic US flight, sat next to a pilot who did not turn off his phone (he knew that it was on), I usually did not bother turning my phone off before the ban was lifted.

Also, one only had to scan for bluetooth devices on flights on which radios were supposed to be turned off to know that the rules were flouted for years.

Re:He apparently doesn't fly (1)

rsborg (111459) | about three weeks ago | (#47372417)

to "use the time to sleep and chill out."
Seriously?!

Anecdotal but just flew cross coast twice last week and chilling out in my designated sq ft of cabin room did not inspire ant sense of chilling out. If not for the games, movies, content on my kids &I iPads, it would have been an almost unendurable human "trash compactor" experience. Yes I'm talking to you united airlines.

I'm rarely thankful that I'm not a tall person, but during flights is one of those times. I have no space problems with planes except when I want to use my laptop. Been very good at migrating to iPad for most stuff (even work), however.

Re:He apparently doesn't fly (1)

praxis (19962) | about three weeks ago | (#47373049)

I don't see why you think that someone who is capable of not playing games or watching movies or "consuming content" for a few hours does not fly. Some people can actually chill out for a bit.

meanwhile in the rest of the world (4, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | about three weeks ago | (#47372365)

I've been in other parts of the world that have always allowed continuous cell use on planes, and so planes fell out of the sky like hail. oh wait, nothing happened

Re:meanwhile in the rest of the world (1)

manoweb (1993306) | about three weeks ago | (#47372733)

Ryanair used to have a nano-cell on board so in fact you could make phone calls while flying.

Re:meanwhile in the rest of the world (3, Insightful)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about three weeks ago | (#47373551)

Sigh. Not this again.

Airplanes don't fall out of the sky because, first, there's a pilot on board to think about what his instruments are telling him. Second, airplanes usually have back-up systems for important stuff.

NASA has a voluntary database of in-flight incidents [nasa.gov] . There are issues related to "Passenger Electronic Devices" (Event Type category is "Flight Deck/Cabin/Aircraft Event" and value is "Passenger Electronic Device") that don't cause the plane to crash. However, it can affect aircraft radios used for navigation and voice communication and, on rare occasions, will cause the autopilot to disengage--assumedly due to odd signals being received from the above.

So the whole, "I don't know of any planes that have crashed because of a cellphone call" doesn't mean there isn't interference. It just means that the pilots handle it--sometimes by having the Flight Attendants re-check to make sure that people have turned things off. I remember reading about a pilot who got a signal that one of the cargo doors had opened while at 30,000 feet. He ignored it because if that signal had been true, he'd also see a whole bunch of other warnings about depressurization and the plane would probably be acting strangely.

Recently a Maysian Airlines flight went missing. You may have heard about it in the news. Nobody can understand why the pilots would have deviated from their course and had trouble communicating...

Re:meanwhile in the rest of the world (1)

Zaelath (2588189) | about three weeks ago | (#47374047)

Except that there's no proof that it was PEDs, just a general suspicion that they couldn't work anything else out so it must be that.

I will bet you a gonad that the Malaysian flight had nothing to do with PEDs.

Re:meanwhile in the rest of the world (1)

Zaelath (2588189) | about three weeks ago | (#47374109)

BTW, the actual 2001 report from NASA on PED's admits that all the evidence is purely anecdotal and the ONLY thing that attempts to lend the data any credibility is pilot flying hours:

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/n... [nasa.gov]

Even though ASRS PED events are anecdotal there is one category of the database that provides
supporting credibility to these events--pilot flight hours. The total mean flight time of 10,790
hours from Table 1 indicates that pilots reporting PED events are very experienced. In order to
gain some appreciation of what constitutes a very experienced pilot it is helpful to consider the
significance 10,790 hours converted to years of aviation experience. In today's market a typical
recruiting company's hiring minimums are 3300 military hours or 5300 civilian hours for a
position with a major airline. Once hired a pilot could then acquire approximately 700 to 800
hours annually. If, for example, a military pilot with 3300 hours starts flying with a major airline
averaging 700 hours a year it would take that person about 11 years to reach 10,790 hours.
Finally, if it took 10 years, a conservative estimate, for that pilot to accumulate the initial 3300
hours then 10,790 hours would have taken 20 years to accumulate. That amount of time is
indicative of a very experienced pilot.

So flying hours makes one an electrical engineer? That's some pretty piss-poor science.

Re:meanwhile in the rest of the world (1)

richlv (778496) | about three weeks ago | (#47374773)

i recall reading a summary of all the cases when reported devices were sent to faa or something like that for examination in all of those cases the devices were found to be incapable to cause the described effects, so something else was causing problems, but then passenger devices got blamed

Cost of WiFi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47372437)

Since devices can be on, but must be in airplane mode (with wi-fi enabled is fine), and most people use their devices for connecting to networks, I expect the thing that results in most people not using their devices is the ridiculously overpriced wi-fi on most aircraft.

wifi (2)

Xicor (2738029) | about three weeks ago | (#47372481)

noone can use any devices without wifi really... and guess what, airlines charge a ridiculous amount for wifi.

Re:wifi (1)

Idbar (1034346) | about three weeks ago | (#47372779)

I still see people listening music, watching movies and playing games, now during take off and landing. I don't know where is the submitter flying.

And although the price is high, I see many people paying for it. They claim streaming services won't work, so I don't see any advantage unless people REAAAALLY need to see their facebook, update their status or tweet that they are flying.

Re:wifi (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about three weeks ago | (#47373231)

actually, during takeoff and landing, most of us are still able to get internet. the issue i was complaining about is when you are up in the air, you no longer get cell phone signal to stream music.

Re:wifi (2)

Zaelath (2588189) | about three weeks ago | (#47374053)

Are you living on the planet of the Chromebooks? I have a LOT of media on my tablet/phone/notebook that I can watch/listen/read without any kind of network connection....

wifi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47372889)

Because the instruction clock in you're computer has to be streamed from the NIST NTP servers. I mean it's 2014 /everything/ is better streamed now. OF COURSE the devices are useless without wifi, why didn't they think about that?

Re:wifi (1)

gnu-sucks (561404) | about three weeks ago | (#47373853)

While I agree that the fees are extreme compared to, say, one entire month of real broadband at home, paying $10 for wifi actually is small compared with hundreds of dollars already spent to fly.

Still too much though, I agree!

Stupidest headline ever (1)

EvanED (569694) | about three weeks ago | (#47372487)

Over a four month period observed by DePaul University's Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development this year, 35.9% of passengers used mobile devices at any point during the flight. In last year's study, while flight attendants still patrolled the aisles for devices that hadn't been shut off, 35.3% of passengers used devices during flight.

This is vaguely interesting, but doesn't match the headline.

Another way to read those numbers is "most people (say they) followed the no-electronics rule." The rule change was "now you can use electronics all the time." That would affect the number of people who used electronics during takeoff/landing, and you wouldn't expect much effect on the number who used it 'at any point during the flight.'

He definitely never has been on monkey class... (4, Informative)

Ries (765608) | about three weeks ago | (#47372547)

"use the time to sleep and chill out." my ass. I recently had a 31h flight (24h of them inside the planes) on monkey class. There was nothing pleasant over it, it was a means to get from A to B. The whole flight was survival and sleeping in that upright position was not a choice, it happens when the mind is so tired that it barely can't feel the discomfort anymore. You do anything to try to keep your mind occupied while being crammed in that seat for a full day, with the only break being getting out of the plane, to be scanned for bombs for the X'th time, just to return to the same plane and same seat...

Re:He definitely never has been on monkey class... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47373031)

It's because you have never lived under harsh conditions.
I used to fall asleep on a C-2 while it was under fire. It was a lot easier than sleeping in the jungle.

I mean, yeah, your life is hard. It's a shame you can't sleep on a plane.

Re:He definitely never has been on monkey class... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47373415)

Exactly.

Travelling by plane is huge pain for me; and I do not even talk about the several neverending queues you have to do in airports, the ever-more-annoying searches, the kilometers you have to walk/run to find the fscking right terminal/gate to board in oh no it's changed again. No, I just mean spending hours and hours with your knees pressed again the front seat so much it starts hurting before you have even done a quarter of the trip, with the right shoulder compressed against your right neighbour and the damn stewardess hitting your left arm with her fat ass every 3rd minute when she walks in the aisle, the neverending noise of the plane and of the 100/200/300/... passengers you share the room with, or even better, getting patronised by the $@*%# stewardess because you keep the window shutter open (since you cannot sleep, trying to spot a few lights in the middle of Siberia keeps you busy) and by doing so you prevent other people from sleeping (remember it is 3 AM, 30000 ft above er... nowhere, there is even no moon on this side, so 99% of the light comes from /inside/ the plane, not from outside... I though about various ways of murdering her, kept me busy for the rest of the trip.). If there happen to be a baby on the row behind you, you won the jackpot.
Oh, and I forgot the hours spent parked/taxiing in an overheated plane for whatever reason. The only thing you know is that going outside of the fscking can is absolutely forbidden, there is no escape. So, you had planned to suffer for 8 hours, but now you've already suffered for 2 hours and you haven't even taken off.

Yeah, I love travelling by plane... Chilling out, my ass.

Re:He definitely never has been on monkey class... (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about three weeks ago | (#47373483)

Learn to sleep on planes. It changes your life.

I pretty much automatically fall asleep when I sit down now. Usually open my eyes for the takeoff, then fall asleep again well before cruising altitude.

It's actually a challenge staying awake part of the flight while flying west to prevent jet lag.

Re:He definitely never has been on monkey class... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47374687)

Yep you should totally sail next time. It will be much more pleasant.

No reception... (1)

gabereiser (1662967) | about three weeks ago | (#47372583)

...at 36,000ft. That's why I never use mine... After about 7,000ft I get 0 bars. I'm not going to pay $18 to use WiFi for longer than an hour so I'll just use the time to drink and relax.

Re:No reception... (3, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | about three weeks ago | (#47373069)

...at 36,000ft. That's why I never use mine... After about 7,000ft I get 0 bars. I'm not going to pay $18 to use WiFi for longer than an hour so I'll just use the time to drink and relax.

I've got a dozen games, about two hundred books, and a handful of tv shows and movies on my iPad. I use it every flight, and it's annoying being stuck reading the in-flight magazine during takeoff and landing.

Re:No reception... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47374351)

After about 7,000ft I get 0 bars.

Try a plane with a pressurized cabin.

medical condition? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47374855)

...at 36,000ft. That's why I never use mine... After about 7,000ft I get 0 bars. I'm not going to pay $18 to use WiFi for longer than an hour so I'll just use the time to drink and relax.

I've got a dozen games, about two hundred books, and a handful of tv shows and movies on my iPad. I use it every flight, and it's annoying being stuck reading the in-flight magazine during takeoff and landing.

Really? You can't handle not being mentally stimulated for ~20 at the beginning and end of a flight? It is such a burden and inconvenience for you?

If you don't mind my asking, what medical condition do you have? Have you tried taking up meditation so you have something to do during this period?

Cue primitivism, moral panic over noise, nostalgia (0)

RandomUsername99 (574692) | about three weeks ago | (#47372699)

My favorite game! It's time to queue up everybody who doesn't have a mobile phone, or as is the case more recently, people who *refuse* (as if anybody gives a shit) to get a smart phone, so, with an overtone of great cultural and intellectual superiority, they can proudly show the world how awesomely anti-mobile they are! There may even be little branch threads containing anti-mobile pissing contests. Also, we should plan on hearing from all of the people making sure that everybody knows just how abhorrently distasteful they find public telephone conversations.

I commute on the MBTA Red Line, which is a subway line in Boston, which has consistent cell phone service for every part of the line I hit on my commute. I don't think I actually notice more than 2 or 3 phone conversations actually taking place on the train in any given MONTH. I am significantly more likely to be bothered by loud conversation among two passengers, face to face, than I am by a loud cell phone conversation. Even if someone was having an loud conversation... that's what headphones are for. The chance of someone being annoying enough, while sitting close enough to drown out my music is pretty slight. You'd have to be pretty thin-skinned not to be able to tolerate it. I really can't imagine that being on a plane would be so much worse that it's worth getting any feathers ruffled over.

So if people aren't talking, then what's the point of the service? People text, reading news, catch up on social media, play games, stream music...

Re:Cue primitivism, moral panic over noise, nostal (1)

murdocj (543661) | about three weeks ago | (#47373703)

I don't have a smart phone, and I don't give a shit whether you have one or not. At some point I'll probably get one, but I don't need one right now. So why should I shell out extra bucks for one? I might as well take a couple of 20s out of my wallet each month and set them on fire.

The answer is alcohol! (2)

Known Nutter (988758) | about three weeks ago | (#47372771)

Alcohol! Gives me the ability to drown-out/ignore your intrusive cell phone use coupled with the potential to make me more annoying than you to other passengers all the while maintaining my elevated (perhaps evolved?) sense of not giving a fuck about either!

Win-win!

Ain't flying fun!?!?

Re:The answer is alcohol! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47373707)

I'd normally be all for that, but 7 bucks for a Budweiser, I'm sorry, but no. Just no.

Re:The answer is alcohol! (1)

richlv (778496) | about three weeks ago | (#47374785)

lufthansa gives free warsteiner. they don't do local fights in the usa yet, though...

Re:The answer is alcohol! (1)

richlv (778496) | about three weeks ago | (#47374781)

hmm, there's something... any airline that allows phonecalls or provides wifi must provide unlimited free alcohol :)

If you chain a dog to a well for twenty years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47372827)

then remove the chain - it will still stand there

Re:If you chain a dog to a well for twenty years (1)

Ihunda (642056) | about three weeks ago | (#47373057)

I'll be dead too

It's about type of device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47372941)

I will use my 3DS and/or iPod. Kindles would also be nice if I had one. I don't really use my cell phone on the plane much. The reason, besides it's inability to connect to networks, is simply battery. By the time the plane takes off, my phone can be well under 50% battery charge. I want to save the battery for after I land, where phone use becomes much more important. With music from the iPod, games on the 3DS, and video and other stuff on the laptop if I want, why bother using the phone? By the time the laptop and 3DS batteries die, and the magazines read, the plane would have landed.

My experience is otherwise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47372943)

I travel all the time. My personal observation is that using smartphones and tablets and readers is nearly ubiquitous during takeoff and landing. And now I nearly never see someone dig out a paperback "airport book", they instead use a kindle/nook/kobo.

Maybe the FAA should inform the stewardesses (1)

ckhorne (940312) | about three weeks ago | (#47373095)

I've flown a fair amount in recent months and in more than half the flights, I'm trying to use my iPad during takeoff, and the stewardess will come and bark at me to put my iPad away on takeoff or landing. Naturally, on an airplane, the customer is always wrong. It's not just a matter of telling the consumers, it's a matter of the airlines properly training / informing the crew.

And to add to the rediculousness, when I was flying into St Maarten's airport (the famous one that's right over the beach) last month, the whole plane was reminded that we needed to put away our phones for pictures because "we aren't in FAA airspace, so the rules don't apply here." I guess the EM spectrum is different outside the States...

Re:Maybe the FAA should inform the stewardesses (1)

davids-world.com (551216) | about three weeks ago | (#47373313)

What airline is that? There are Standard Operating Procedures. They make their own rule.

As far as I know, the FAR's basically say that it is up to the operator (the airline) to decide which devices are OK to use [1491.21, and, for typical airline operations: 121.306].

Re:Maybe the FAA should inform the stewardesses (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | about three weeks ago | (#47373319)

And to add to the rediculousness, when I was flying into St Maarten's airport (the famous one that's right over the beach) last month, the whole plane was reminded that we needed to put away our phones for pictures because "we aren't in FAA airspace, so the rules don't apply here." I guess the EM spectrum is different outside the States...

What airlines have you been on? I've never been told I couldn't take pictures with my camera. Or maybe this was just a St. Maarten's thing.

Re:Maybe the FAA should inform the stewardesses (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about three weeks ago | (#47373573)

I would imagine (a) it's a St. Maarten's thing--nobody wants to take a picture of landing at O'Hare and (b) there are so many people who have camera phones as their primary camera that it's easier for the flight attendants to just say, "No photos" than to say, "Only those people using stand-alone cameras can take pictures--no cell phone cameras."

Re:Maybe the FAA should inform the stewardesses (1)

the plant doctor (842044) | about three weeks ago | (#47374355)

Regarding the EM spectrum thing, I noticed it too. I flew from Houston to Manila with United last year. Taking off from Houston we allowed to use devices, landing in Hawaii we were allowed to use devices. Change planes in Hawaii. Taking off we were allowed to use devices. However, upon landing in Guam (still part of the US and on the same plane) we were not allowed to use devices?

Broke the rule before anyway (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about three weeks ago | (#47373487)

I always broke the rule before anyway. I listened to lectures and audiobooks starting on my ride to the airport, through the airport, an interruption at security, then in the gate, then boarding the plane, taxiing the plane, take off, flight, landing, taxiing, arrival, and the drive to my destination.

So nothing is really going to change. Maybe, just maybe I might have a video based lecture that I will watch starting before take off. So now I can do that.

I suspect that I wasn't alone, in that many people probably listened to at least music. So the number of devices active during take off and landing was probably already quite high.

Airlines To Blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47373531)

Having traveled to European countries since April the "US" based crews still instruct passengers to turnoff all communications devices regardless during take-off and landing.

For Airline crews, the sense of fear and the sense of helplessness are their greatest tools to harass and violate and control passengers. The psychology of the crews needs to be considered for their psychopath and sociopath desires of domination over passengers.

The day I witness the cabin crew being thrown out of the aircraft onto the pavement and doused with kerosene and flamed up will be a truly happy one.

Re:Airlines To Blame (1)

rworne (538610) | about three weeks ago | (#47373965)

That hellhole airline do you fly?

I've done ANA ( LAX-HND), United and Lufthansa (LAX-FRT, LAX-MUC) and never had an issue with the flight crew nor have I seen abusive behavior by them towards any passenger. And yes, I did say United. I have seen plenty of a-hole passengers though. I refuse to take the FRT-LAX run on Lufthansa now due to the codeshare they have with a SE asian airline that usually packs the plane. The behavior of a lot of the passengers on that flight is simply appalling.

Re:Airlines To Blame (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about three weeks ago | (#47374185)

> That hellhole airline do you fly?

I'm guessing a former eastern bloc country.

Just flew from PDX to ORD... (1)

bennomatic (691188) | about three weeks ago | (#47373843)

...and they made it clear that only larger devices (laptops) needed to be powered off. I know it's just an anecdote, but I kept my iPad mini on with iBooks open (learning Swift!), my kid kept playing 2048 on my iPhone, and I saw two other people within view of my seat using their devices during take-off, even more during landing.

Not Laptops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47374245)

They still don't let me use a laptop. In fact, the last time, we were still even 20 minutes out from landing, and the douche bag steward came by to tell us to turn off our electronic devices. Windows was shutting down on my laptop, and he came back and went off on me for not following his "orders" (after flying for four hours already). I pointed at the screen and said, "It is!"

Gee, really? (1)

roger10-4 (3654435) | about three weeks ago | (#47374895)

Of course the usage hasn't changed. Takeoff and landings are the most exciting parts of a flight. You're either a) not yet gone crazy because of being stuck in a sardine can with crying children and big, fat stinky people or b) you're getting close to escape from the same crying kids and fat, stinky oafs. Why would an electronic device be more interesting?
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