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First Cellphone Use On Airplane Given OK

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the last-bastion-of-quiet-removed dept.

Communications 305

s31523 writes "With over 1 billion cell phone users worldwide, and with so many business travelers, using the cell phone on the airplane has been a recent hot topic. Emirate airlines is announcing they will give the OK for cell phone use on their planes, making them the first airline to do so. The FCC and FAA still ban the use, but are working to determine safety implications, if any."

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Anybody Try to use one on a plane? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17329420)

Tough to keep a signal at 500 kts and 36000 ft.

Re:Anybody Try to use one on a plane? (2, Insightful)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329978)

Tough to keep a signal at 500 kts and 36000 ft.

Shouldn't be a problem, all the people hijacked on 9/11 were making calls with their cellphones, wasn't a problem for them.

Re:Anybody Try to use one on a plane? (2, Funny)

Cauchy (61097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330066)

And the planes still managed to find their way to their destinations/target. Didn't seem to interfere with the navigation systems.

Re:Anybody Try to use one on a plane? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17330180)

Mythbusters had an episode on the cell phones with airplanes issue. Cell phones were not shown to have any effect on navigation controls, but a highly amplified signal did have an effect. Since cell phones on an airplane will probably need to operate at near their maximum signal power to stay in contact, this could be an issue if many people were using cellphones simultaneously--especially during takeoff and landing. Other than that, a couple of people using cellphones during cruising operations shouldn't be a problem--except that they might be murdered by other passengers if they talk like the typical teenage girl when everyone is trying to sleep (which would probably be justifiable homicide).

Re:Anybody Try to use one on a plane? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17330280)

And you believed that Bush BS? It was simple propaganda. There is no way those cell phones worked for so long without dropping. Bush worshipers like you make us intelligent people sick. I wish you morons would stop posting on this site. We don't need your kind here. Don't you have some "fags" to harass or something?

Not Robert Frost (1)

crossbow_of_speed (527135) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329422)

glarg.

To those confused (5, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329448)

To those confused, the real problem with cell phone use on airplanes is that you are traveling so fast that you are switching towers once every minute or so. One person is fine, millions doing it (which is what would happen if legal) would be a HUGE strain on cell phone networks. Airlines are installing cellphone tower equipment into their plane to eliminate this problem.

That is all class.

Re:To those confused (5, Insightful)

fdrebin (846000) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329500)

The other problem will be ME going postal when the impolite person sitting next to me yaks and yaks for 5 hours straight on a flight.

OK, I won't have a firearm, but I am large, strong, and will have become extremely psychotic.

/F

Re:To those confused (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17329608)

Ah... the Radical Muslim answer to being offended.

Re:To those confused (2, Interesting)

fdrebin (846000) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329736)

More like the WASP [wikipedia.org] answer to excessive provocation.

Perhaps my comment is best viewed with a sense of humor... It was intended to convey displeasure, hopefully to not actually predict the future.

/F

Re:To those confused (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17329832)

To quote Yoda:
"If yakking on his phone for 5 hours he is, yak at you for 5 hours he will not."

Re:To those confused (2, Insightful)

fdrebin (846000) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330008)

To quote Yoda:

"If yakking on his phone for 5 hours he is, yak at you for 5 hours he will not."

To quote Frankie Vallie:

"Silence Is Golden".

Re:To those confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17330384)

To quote my dad... "Silence is a virtue, be virtuous."

Re:To those confused (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17330196)

Buy some earplugs, you fucking Neanderthal thug.

Re:To those confused (1)

Five Bucks! (769277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329504)

Shit... does that mean they're going to take one of the Economy class lavatories out to put in a cellphone tower?

Now I'm going to get brain cancer AND piss myself 'cause there's only one toilet.

Re:To those confused (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330090)

No, stupid... it's too long for that. They'll simply lay the antenna down in the aisle. You'll just have to carefully step through it on your way to and from your seat.

Some people!

Re:To those confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17329606)

Dear Confused,

Try reading the friggin' article. The airlines are installing cell base stations on the planes.

Insightful my ass.

Re:To those confused (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329770)

If they were Our planes, We would have installed cell phone towers much sooner.

Re:To those confused (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329668)

and I was worried that the pilots would be yacking and not flying

Re:To those confused (1)

banerjek (1040522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329804)

and I was worried that the pilots would be yacking and not flying
Don't worry, they have autopilot. It's already in use much of the time.

Re:To those confused (2, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330102)

Well I hope they've at least solved the problem of autopilots deflating while in flight. Or, at the very least, I hope they've moved the air intake nozzle somewhere other than the belt buckle. After all, you can't smoke on planes anymore.

The other issue ... (1)

vlad_petric (94134) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329810)

is EM interference. Cellphones (especially the GSM ones) tend to be quite noisy. Don't believe me? Make a call near a radio.

Re:The other issue ... (1)

feitingen (889125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329866)

Make a call near a radio.

... or anything else with speakers.

Re:The other issue ... (1)

samurphy21 (193736) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329958)

I wasn't sure I believed either of the parents, so I just tried it myself. AM/FM makes no difference. when a cell phone was held near a radio (near the antenna, near the speaker and touching antenna to antenna) in the standby mode, while dialing, while connected or while receiving a call, nothing happened on the radio. Not a single bit of noise or static. Does this "noise" spoken of only occur when the cell phone drops to analog mode?

Re:The other issue ... (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330012)

Well, a co-worker of mine's PC speakers make a bunch of noise when his phone is about to ring. When there's no sound is being played on the computer.

Re:The other issue ... (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330070)

I can always tell my cell phone is gonna ring because I start to hear sort of chirping noises from nearby speakers. This happens on the speakers in my car stereo, my macbook's speakers, tv speakers, and the speakers on my desktop. FWIW, the service is cingular. I also noticed this bigtime with nextel phones in the past.

Re:The other issue ... (1)

LineNoiz (616971) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330132)

It only happens with certain types of phones (specifically, GSM phones). Mine does it all the time.

Re:The other issue ... (2, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330174)

You probably have a CDMA phone. GSM phones, such as those used by Cingular, cause interference with various noise-emitting devices. My desk phone at work always buzzes about a second before I get a phone call on my Cingular phone.

Re:The other issue ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17330428)

Interesting. I just switched to Cingular last week and was curious as to why my speakers made a bunch of noise before the phone rang. My Sprint cell phone (CDMA) never did that. On the plus side, my reception with Cingular is twice as good as my Sprint reception was in my office so I can actually make and receive phone calls without stepping outside the building. Now I just need to clear up why they charged me a full $137 for 2 days worth of service on my two lines when it was supposed to be prorated until the next billing period.

Re:The other issue ... (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330278)

I wasn't sure I believed either of the parents, so I just tried it myself. AM/FM makes no difference. when a cell phone was held near a radio (near the antenna, near the speaker and touching antenna to antenna) in the standby mode, while dialing, while connected or while receiving a call, nothing happened on the radio. Not a single bit of noise or static. Does this "noise" spoken of only occur when the cell phone drops to analog mode?
It happens when the phone is checking in with the tower - not all the time. I've seen this happen a lot in meetings in conference rooms where there is a speaker phone - the speaker phone doesn't have to be on. Lay a GSM on the table within a couple of feet of the speaker phone. From time to time, I would some noise coming from the speaker. Sometimes it means someone's phone is about to ring.

I did not have this problem before switching to GSM.

I hear the same distinct noise on my TV sometimes when my phone is near it. Again, I have to stress that this is not constant - it lasts about 3 seconds perhaps once per half hour.

re EM interference (1)

freddieb (537771) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330192)

I would have agreed but Myth Busters did quite a good test on this subject.
Running an amplified cellphone with a directional antenna and could cause
no ix to the aviation radios.

Re:To those confused Who modded this up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17329924)

Insightful? Now not being able to read is modded insightful?

Who are these moderators and how do they keep their points? They must be doing the Slashdork goosestep.

YOU'RE A MORON!

Re:To those confused (2, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329932)

Airlines are installing cellphone tower equipment into their plane to eliminate this problem.

Next problem: how to deal with a hundred foot tall cell tower sticking out of the top of the plane.

Re:To those confused (2, Informative)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330110)

Good post, but may be a moot point with current cellphone technology.

My frequently faulty memory tells me that somewhere -- probably here on slashdot -- in the last year or so there is a link to an article about a test of cell phones on aircraft in flight. At low altitude the cell phone worked fine. At higher altitudes -- above a few thousand feet -- connections were not so good.

Here's a link to an article (not the one I had in mind) about some 2003 tests in the vicinity of London, Ontario using several different cell phones and both metal an fabric skinned aircraft. Bottom line: Cell phones work pretty well at low altitudes, but the liklihood of a usable connection drops off rapidly with increasing altitude. At 8000 feet, the liklihood of connecting and conducting a conversation is below 10%. If their lower altitude results apply at higher altitudes, they project the liklihood of a connection at 20000 ft to be pretty close to zero. http://physics911.net/projectachilles.htm [physics911.net] . They also discuss the handover issue and seem to conclude that at 500mph, there isn't enough time in each cell to complete the handovers necessary for call continuity. At least that's what I think they are saying.

Re:To those confused (1)

bruguiea (1038034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330452)

Another problem is the Doppler effect that causes a shift in the frequency. This can be adjusted but current cell phones (GSMs) are designed to work at speed up to 100 mph (relative to the tower) and planes just go too fast.

I can't even get reception on the ground! (1)

schmidtjas (992363) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329456)

Let alone on a plane!

Re:I can't even get reception on the ground! (1)

devilspgd (652955) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329868)

Then perhaps you have poor choice in cell phones and/or networks?

Good news for Bose (4, Funny)

wbean (222522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329472)

Sounds like good news for Bose; there are going to be a lot of people buying those noise-cancelling earphones.

Re:Good news for Bose (3, Informative)

devilspgd (652955) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329602)

Actually, they don't do a fantastic job of blocking voices. In my experience it's actually easier to hear conversations using noise canceling headphones then without, since the headphones cancel out the other background noise.

Re:Good news for Bose (2, Interesting)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330188)

Nah, what you really want are a pair of canalphones. Personally, I have a pair of Shure's which were a godsend on my last flight, when I got to experience two cowboy-types behind me spending a full hour talking loud enough for half the cabin to hear them...

Keep the ban for the sake of quiet (5, Insightful)

Retired Replicant (668463) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329486)

I don't care if they determine that there is no need to ban cellphones because of interference with plane electronics -- I'd still rather the ban is kept anyway in order to keep flights from turning into cacophonous gab-fests. Flights are already uncomfortable and headache-inducing anyway...lets not make them noisy as well.

Re:Keep the ban for the sake of quiet (1)

devilspgd (652955) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329838)

While I don't disagree, I really look forward to being able to email or IM in-flight...

Re:Keep the ban for the sake of quiet (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330052)

Too true. In New York City, the subway system for the most part is devoid of mobile phone coverage for obvious reasons. They had announced plans to wire the system for signal. Now the plans are pretty much stalemated in red tape, but that is sort of a sigh of relief to those of us who weren't looking forward to losing the one remaining public place one could be sure of not encountering the earpiece-wearing, phone-blabbering bluetooth zombies.

Re:Keep the ban for the sake of quiet (1)

sTalking_Goat (670565) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330146)

I second that, while it would be cool to have internet access in Flight, I'd rather not have to hear the ditz next to me prattling on till her battery runs dry.

Re:Keep the ban for the sake of quiet (1)

autophile (640621) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330178)

Flights are already uncomfortable and headache-inducing anyway...lets not make them noisy as well.

What planet are you on? Here's a replay of my last flight:

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

This is why I *always* bring earplugs. They help, mostly. Personally, I'd *much* rather listen to cellphone chatter than high-pitched informationless shrieking.

--Rob

Re:Keep the ban for the sake of quiet (2, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330448)

I'd *much* rather listen to cellphone chatter than high-pitched informationless shrieking.

How do you know those babies arent trying to communicate something about the bad airline food, the moran pushing/kicking on the back of the seat, someone's B.O./fart wafting through the cabin, etc.

Re:Keep the ban for the sake of quiet (1)

sbben (983577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330466)

Cellphones have uses besides talking.

I would love to use my laptop tethered to my cellphone (of which I have the drivers installed for modem usage) to get internet access in flight. Sure beats the magazines.

If flying wasn't bad enough (5, Funny)

tulmad (25666) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329512)

Because if being crammed into coach wasn't bad enough, now you can be crammed into coach next to some asshat having a loud conversation on his phone for the entire flight. Sounds like a damn good time!

Re:If flying wasn't bad enough (1)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329890)

The real safety issue of airborne cellular use is having it rammed up your nostril by the disgruntled buy sitting next to you.

Re:If flying wasn't bad enough (2, Interesting)

jav27 (603992) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330220)

I think the rates that Emirates will charge are about $2 per minute. not bad compared to Airphone rates, but still expensive enough to make most people cautious about long use. Most likely on top of the $2 per minute, the carrier will also bill you for international roaming.

Considering the way. . . (2, Funny)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329524)

the vast majority of people drive while on the phone, I don't think I'd want to be on a plane with a pilot who's on his cel phone the whole time.

Oh, you meant the passengers. I'll pass. I really don't need to have an entire flight filled with, "Guess where I'm at! Yeah, it's great! I can finally use my phone to call you from somewhere over [insert country/state/territory/ocean/whatever]. So how are things going? You get that urine problem taken care of."

Re:Considering the way. . . (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329696)

You will be communicating with via a cell inside the plane. This leaves you with two choices:
  1. Pay a huge premium for the privilege of using the plane's cell, or
  2. Pay a huge premium for using the phone installed in your seat.
Either way, it's likely to be so expensive that only real idiots would use it just to say "Hello! I'm on the plane!" I've flown quite a lot this year, and I don't think anyone used the in-seat phones on any flight I was on.

Re:Considering the way. . . (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330062)

Verizon Wireless customers don't get gouged too much. Calls only cost 69c a minute and you can still receive calls to your wireless number via the seatphone

Re:Considering the way. . . (1)

autophile (640621) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330238)

Pay a huge premium for the privilege of using the plane's cell, or...

What a scam! The airline could leave the local cell on after the plane is on the ground. Last flight I was on, at least a third of the passengers pulled out a cellphone to let their family/friends/corporate masters know that they were about to exit the aircraft. Think of the money the airline can make!

--Rob

Counting down... (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329554)

If this becomes common on US airlines, look for "plane rage" incidents to spike upwards.

Can you imagine trying to endure a long flight seated next to one of those insecure, nonstop-talking, loudmouth cell-junkies?

Re:Counting down... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17329714)

No, I can't imagine it. However, if it's the same or any worse than sitting next to a person like you I think I'll drive next time.

Re:Counting down... (4, Funny)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329870)

I doubt it. After being readied by your pleasant trip through security where you begged for your insulin back, the comfort of flying with your knees crushed into the back of the seat in front of you while a kid kicks the back of your seat will sooth your troubled soul. And if that isn't enough you can eat your bag of pretzles (only on select flights) on your tiny tray. Then you can join the 10 person long line to the toilet only to get to the front in time to be ordered by the flight attendant to get back to the your seat because they'll be landing in 1 hour.

No, I see no passengers being bothered by this.

Re:Counting down... (2, Interesting)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329936)

Ah, but you never know which straw is the one that finally blows out the camel's back, do you?
Let's hope at some point airlines and our security apparatus will try to improve the airline travel experience.

Enabling cellphone use on airliners ain't it.

Re:Counting down... (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330054)

No need for cell phones for this sort of thing to happen. I already had to sit just in front of some stupid bitch that flapped her gums at her boyfriend for over four hours solid non-stop. I never thought this sort of thing was humanly possible until that flight...

Health and safety issues (5, Funny)

ShadowEFX (152354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329556)

I hope one of the health and safety issues they look in to is the effect a cell phone has on a trachea when forcefully inserted by an enraged passenger tired of hearing the unfortunate cell user blather for five continuous hours...

Re:Health and safety issues (3, Interesting)

zoftie (195518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329922)

Thats what earlugs are for. :) I think they should mandate though microphone masks, so they keep their sounds to their face. Or something like talk booths where they go and talk all they want.

Re:Health and safety issues (1)

Tellarin (444097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330038)


Hmmmmmmm....

Now I get why phone are always getting smaller....

Re:Health and safety issues (2, Funny)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330358)

>I hope one of the health and safety issues they look
>in to is the effect a cell phone has on a trachea
>when forcefully inserted

      Trachea?

      Brett

Just fucking great (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17329562)

Just what we need.

Some loudmouth cell phone usage by some self-absorbed jackass while packed like sardines into a tin can for 6 hours.

Does it mean... (5, Funny)

ifchairscouldtalk (1031944) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329566)

... that I can play Snake on a plane now?

Issues are technical, not just regulatory (4, Informative)

bugnuts (94678) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329578)

Let's ignore the issues of cellphones interfering with the flight controls. We'll ignore that search for a random cellphone on some oriental airline long ago, purported to be messing up the landing.

From what I understand, cellphones work by associating themselves with "cells" of coverage. The closer they are, the less power they use, and so on. When the user moves cells, the network switches them over to the new cell.

From the air, a cellphone will see many, many different cells as being equally good. It will also have to switch across cells much faster than normal. Without the plane itself acting as a roving cell tower for the occupants, it seems to me that this would cause a lot of problems. Not only will all the cellphones be transmitting at full power, but the network will potentially have to handle many many more switches cell to cell, and faster than normal. There's evidence of this from TFA when it said some upscale, long-haul airlines are installing equipment onboard that will allow for cell phone use.

I'd love to hear from anyone in the business that could shed more light on these technical issues, and whether they are as big of a problem as I suspect if airlines were to just say "Sure! Use your phone!"

Re:Issues are technical, not just regulatory (1)

pilkul (667659) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329744)

Quite right. This is why airlines are installing cellphone "tower" equipment inside planes, which will neatly bypass all those issues.

Re:Issues are technical, not just regulatory (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329746)

With a cell site in the plane, your phone will go into low power mode and just talk to it, not any of the towers on the ground (in theory, at least). It may see other towers, but won't try to switch to them, because they will be weaker signals than the one a few metres away.

The cell in the plane will communicate with a base station somewhere, probably via LEO satellites, without interacting with the rest of the phone network. Once the call reaches the ground, it will be routed accordingly. Equipment for the second part (getting the calls to the ground) is already in many planes for the phones you will find built into seats. The only difference is that now you can pay a lot to use your own handset, instead of theirs.

Why cell sites in plane are ultra plus good (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329970)

With a cell site in the plane, your phone will go into low power mode and just talk to it, not any of the towers on the ground (in theory, at least). It may see other towers, but won't try to switch to them, because they will be weaker signals than the one a few metres away.

Not to mention how easy it makes it to convert modified GTA and RPG weapons to target civilian aircraft once these are installed.

Re:Why cell sites in plane are ultra plus good (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330266)

Grand Theft Auto, and Role Playing Game weapons???

What planet did I wake up to?

Re:Why cell sites in plane are ultra plus good (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330410)

No, I used to be in the Army, and one of the main problems for any surface to air missile is lockon - if the cell site is near the tail, that's a pretty good area to hit, as you take out the fins and sometimes an engine or two. You just need a cheap cell signal lockon that uses fire and forget to follow the mobile target - probably as cheap as those JATO units we added to dumb bombs to turn them into smart bombs for $1000 (my guess is this upgrade would be around $100 max, worth it).

Having a dedicated signal is key.

Re:Why cell sites in plane are ultra plus good (1)

Aglassis (10161) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330458)

Not to mention how easy it makes it to convert modified GTA and RPG weapons to target civilian aircraft once these are installed.

Yeah, like a civilian aircraft that has beforehand listed its entire schedule and air travel route to the public and that is flying in a straight line with a radar signature larger than the size of a barn would be such a hard target. If someone wants to shoot down a civilian air transport plane, there is really nothing you can do about it. RPGs and SAMs were designed to shoot down things like F-16s or MiG-29s. They really aren't going to have a hard time taking down a 767.

Re:Issues are technical, not just regulatory (1)

yali (209015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330268)

Equipment for the second part (getting the calls to the ground) is already in many planes for the phones you will find built into seats.

Airlines generally charge a lot of money to use those phones, which raises an interesting possibility... Since the airlines own the onboard cell, could they tack on a hefty toll/surcharge (buck or two a minute) for using it? I'd actually favor that, because it would have the effect of preventing everybody from gabbing all flight long, while still opening an avenue for people who really need to make calls with their cellphone.

Re:Issues are technical, not just regulatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17330200)

Dude, oriental is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian-American, please.

Yeah ... sure ... this is a "good thing" ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17329584)

From the Article:
In January, Emirates airline plans to launch mobile phone usage in its planes, making it the first airline to allow passengers to make cell phone calls on its flights.


From the Blurb:
The FCC and FAA still ban the use, but are working to determine safety implications, if any.


From a recently declassified CIA Transcript:
Achmed: Hello? Something has happened! The pilot and co-pilot have both died, and I'm flying the plane! I don't know what to do!

Mohamed: Okay, Do you see a steering wheel looking thingy in front of you?

Achmed: Yes, its kind of black-ish.

Mohamed: Okay, you're doing great. Now take that control and use it to aim your plane toward the nearest spot of Infidel desecration you can see. ....

Can we keep it banned? (0, Redundant)

loftwyr (36717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329644)

Not that it wouldn't be nice for some but I really don't want to listed to 20 people's conversations all at once in a plane for 5 hours.

The only benefit I can see is hooking up to the high speed data network and web surfing for my entire flight.

Nobody is so important they can't be unreachable for a few hours.

Re:Can we keep it banned? (0)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329830)

Nobody is so important they can't be unreachable for a few hours.


Russia/China/India/Pakistan/North Korea/etc. just launched a nuclear missile! Get the President on the phone now!..... Whaddya mean he can't be reached until Air Force One lands?

Just because you're not important enough to need constant reliable communication methods doesn't mean that other people aren't. My clients make multi-million dollar deals that can hinge on a moment's notice. I'm glad I don't have to handle their IT and communication needs and I'm sure their staffs don't share the same mentality you do.

Re:Can we keep it banned? (1)

andreMA (643885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330028)

If your clients are so damned (self) important, this is what charter flights and private aircraft are for. I don't care that a multi-million dollar deal is in the works, unless I have a piece of it. Nor does the existence of such a deal make the other person "special". Speshul, maybe.

If they're foolish enough to place themselves in the air when such things are hinging on "a moment's notice" then perhaps they need to find a new line of work. I have a stable that needs cleaning...

Re:Can we keep it banned? (1)

kaen (38872) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330252)

Err, yeah. Maybe they can drive from LA to NY for that meeting, just so they can stay in touch.

Re:Can we keep it banned? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17330176)

If they're making multi-million dollar deals, then they can afford their own plane and talk all they want to.

Re:Can we keep it banned? (2, Funny)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330332)

When the President is flying coach on Delta, we'll take your point seriously.

It isn't so much the gabbing... (-1, Flamebait)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329654)

...as much as it is the stupid as hell ringtones.

Do I really need to see another fatass American standing in line to the crapper.... only to have his ringtone blare out "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy."

Re:It isn't so much the gabbing... (0, Redundant)

DoorFrame (22108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329842)

Does the nationality of the fatass really matter much?

Re:It isn't so much the gabbing... (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330372)

Does the nationality of the fatass really matter much?
I think he is implying that only Americans are fat because in other countries they can't afford food.

Re:It isn't so much the gabbing... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17330376)

Only Americans are fatasses.

GP should be marked -1 Redundant.

Time of the loud mouth jackass begins in the air (2, Funny)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329790)

We have all be subjected to the loud mouth jackass before. You know, the one that answers his/her phone in a restaurant and basically yells so that everyone can see/hear how important they are. Now the one save place we have from these people is going away.

Perhaps we can convince the airlines to make the engine noise louder to drown them out.

Cellphones don't endanger planes. (5, Interesting)

bananaendian (928499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329824)

This "Cellphones in Airplanes" type of article appears periodically in /. and every time I have to rise from my grave to correct the false speculation about cellphones interfering with avionics.

Cellphones do not cause aircraft to crash and burn! There. Thank you.

Here's my longer explanation for those interested: Avionics ABC [slashdot.org]

Airlines offering the use of GSM cellphone services equip the cabin with a basestation similar to one used RF-secure buildings and underground facilities. It will handle all the calls within the cabin and connect to the phone network via satellite datalink. It's all compatible, safe and tested method that has been used for years now on business jets.

Re:Cellphones don't endanger planes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17330024)

You,

Obviously didn't see the Mythbusters episode where they tested cell phone impacts on flight instruments.

To say the least I was impressed and scared, simultaneously.

Re:Cellphones don't endanger planes. (1)

shogarth (668598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330190)

Too true. Pilots even give permission to call out from time to time. Two years ago I had the good fortune to be on a flight benefiting from a 90 kt. tail wind. As we started to descend (20 minutes before touching down) the pilot came on the PA and suggested that we all break out our cell phones and let people know we were going to be about 45 minutes early. She surely wasn't worried about navigational interference...

Re:Cellphones don't endanger planes. (2, Informative)

thpr (786837) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330408)

Your prior post is interesting, detailed, and well-informed reading, but you fail to address an existing, published study [cmu.edu] stating that cellphone use on aircraft may be dangerous.

I for one welcome our ringtone-enabled overlords (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329900)

And will enjoy grabbing their annoying cell phones out of their hands and throwing them to the back of the plane.

Especially since they all insist on talking louder than a normal conversation when they have them.

Bring back separate sections... (3, Insightful)

LGV (68807) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329930)

...only this time instead of smoking/non-smoking, we need cell phone and non-cell phone sections. Or better yet, talking and no talking sections.

Re:Bring back separate sections... (1)

joewoodstock (956148) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330224)

It's easy. If you want to use your cell phone, you must sit in the last 10 rows of the airplane for the entire flight -- the Cell Phone Section. Give up your first class upgrade, and you get to use your cell phone. That frees up seats in first class for the rest of us, and gives us peace and quiet up there.

The Problem with Microwave Band Signals... (1, Troll)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17329940)

...is that very few people seem to understand exactly how they work well enough to be able to make decent judgments as to what constitutes a risk. First off we have the people who are afraid of ANY kind of electromagnetic radiation passing through the body. They worry that being hit with cell phone signals, WiFi and microwave range cordless phones will cause a variety of ills ranging from cancer to genetic mutations. The people who argue that these things can't happen don't have much to back them up either. So in reality the jury is still out as to whether or not having all that artificial man-made radiation passing through you is really dangerous or not. There also hasn't been a significant period of time to produce a useful study. Face it, we're the guinea pigs and the businesses behind these devices don't care if 25 years from now it's suddenly proven that these signals caused a rise in some kind of illness. It's likely that the technology will have been supplanted anyway.

Next you have places like hospitals that demand that you turn your cell phone off because the signal between it and the cell tower may disrupt hospital equipment, pace makers and the like. There are some examples from the past that illustrate this but they were most probably from the era of analogue cell phones which had stronger signals and *may* have interfered with someone's pace maker or some hospital equipment at some point in some unusual circumstances. On the other side of the argument you have the people who are in love with their mobile devices and are livid that they have to turn them off in hospitals. You hear a lot of them complain about how the doctors happily use WiFi tablets and other microwave devices and yet they forbid cell phones.

Then the airplanes... Although no one has ever come out and directly stated why electronics on board a plane are forbidden during takeoff and landing. The rumours I've heard are that the generation of signals by those devices is strong enough to disrupt the plane's guidance systems thereby creating a risk of crashing. Not having been a pilot at any point, I can neither verify nor discredit this claim (but I'm sure some Slashdot reader who is a commercial airline pilot in his spare time will verify it for me).

My main point is that there ARE people who DO know the realities of microwave devices and interference. They are more than likely the engineers who develop these devices. And they are noticeably absent from the discussion. This leads me to believe that there may be some truth to the risks that they don't wish to publicly discuss since it would probably cost them their jobs. I can say that with a background in electronics myself, that I can see how under certain freak circumstances a small device like a cell phone could interfere with some other device utilizing the same or resonant frequencies. But there'd have to be some special circumstances. In my experience it seems that microwaves, due to their very very small wavelengths, don't act like radio waves in the AM or FM radio or TV bands. This leads to a little less predictability in discovering possible interference situations unless you're an engineer who is studying this. So, it's best to be safe. If some studies were done by qualified radio engineers who weren't paid by the cell phone industry and they determined that using cell phones on planes is safe, then it's probably fine. But I think I'll be waiting on the ground for the next half a decade if all the airlines decide to allow this overnight.

Re:The Problem with Microwave Band Signals... (1)

icebones (707368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330312)

They worry that being hit with cell phone signals, WiFi and microwave range cordless phones will cause a variety of ills ranging from cancer to genetic mutations.

as long as mine is mutant healing factor I'm cool witht that

Oh the humanity! (2, Funny)

k2dbk (724898) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330152)

The last bastion of semi-peace and quiet is gone.

Assuming that your definition of peace and quiet includes high-volume white noise and even higher-volume crying babies.

Would this qualify as torture? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17330352)

It occurs to me that cramming someone into a coach window seat and subjecting them to loud random phone calls for hours on end would qualify as torture.

New reality show (3, Funny)

DreamingReal (216288) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330422)

"What do you get when you sit 120 people in seats designed for Erkel for 4 hours with 2 bathrooms, no smoking, available alcohol, and constant cell phone use?

Aluminum-Tube Deathmatch at 36,000 Feet!

Premiering this July on SPIKE TV!"

Simple way to resolve problem (1)

Omeger (939765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17330432)

If your passenger is noisy, then use your electronics skills to create an RF jammer in the form factor of a cell phone that blocks the frequencies that cell phones use. Noisy passenger? Turn on, and problem solved, nobody knows it's you.
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