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The Real Reasons Phones Are Kept Off Planes

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the flip-the-switch dept.

United States 642

jcatcw writes "Mike Elgan argues that the the real reason that cell phones calls are not allowed is fear of crowd control problems if calls are allowed during flight. Also, the airlines like keeping passengers ignorant about ground conditions. The two public reasons, interference with other systems, could easily be tested, but neither the FAA nor the FCC manage to do such testing."

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Vapidity all round (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655503)

First things first: the less annoying single page print-version of the article:
http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?com mand=printArticleBasic&articleId=9015839 [computerworld.com]

Now, from FTA:

The airlines also benefit in general from passengers remaining ignorant about what's happening on the ground during flights, including personal problems, terrorist attacks, plane crashes and other information that might upset passengers.

Yes, PH3AR teh information! Teh interweb must also be teh BANNED!!! What would happen if we let people view things like THIS [digg.com] on their cellphones?

But the "What's wrong with the ban?" section is lame too:

What's to stop terrorists from testing various gadgets, finding the ones with the highest levels of interferences, then turning on dozens of them at some crucial phase of flight, such as during a landing in bad weather?

If we use cellphones, then TEH TERRORISTS HAVE WON!!!!11!!eleven!!

At least we still have Mocha [digg.com] :-)

Re:Vapidity all round (4, Insightful)

sholden (12227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655549)

If we use cellphones, then TEH TERRORISTS HAVE WON!!!!11!!eleven!!


Congratulations on coming up with the exact opposite meaning to the one that the statement obviously is supposed to convey.

mod parent down.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655649)

too many DIGG links.....

wtf?

funny (4, Insightful)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655505)

this is funny because he missed the obvious and actual reason. most planes ive flown on have had a phone on the arm rest with a little slot to swipe your credit card.

Re:funny (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655591)

I agree with this post. As I extremely dimly recall, there was a flight with funky electrical problems which they apparently were able to tie somehow to cell phones. I gather that the airlines figured out that this problem was too profitable to fix. And government has no real stake in fixing it either.

Re:funny (5, Informative)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655605)

Actually, ask anyone that knows how cell towers work, and your real explanation would become evident. Cell phones try to communicate with as many towers at once as possible, this is required so that you can walk from one cell's coverage to another's without dropping your call... a typical phone sees anywhere from 3 to 6 towers at once depending on geography and density of cell towers. Throw that phone up a few thousand feet, and I've personally seen my blackberry connect to 40+ towers at once. This eats up valuable bandwidth at each cell tower, not to mention the fact that you come in and out of a cell's coverage area so fast that it's impossible for your calls to be handed off properly between the cells.

Oh, and good luck with the E911 crap... In the course of a minute, you've gone from the east end of a major city to the west end according to the cells.

Re:funny (5, Funny)

Shatrat (855151) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655873)

Oh, and good luck with the E911 crap
I think that if you have to call 911 from a plane, them finding your location is the least of your problems.

Re:funny (5, Insightful)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655901)

Actually, ask anyone that knows how cell towers work, and your real explanation would become evident.
Exactly. Every other explanation and excuse is crap. Unfortunately, solid technical reasons are never enough for most folks.

Re:funny, most inseatphones are not active. (5, Interesting)

symonty (233005) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655647)

With no players anymore in the US, Verizon out and aircell now offering Wifi instead of phone calls, this is not a reason.

Also the only phones still avaliable on planes are run by ARINC and SITA, which both now have a picocell replacements under testing for installation this year.

There is no technical nor marketing reason you can't have a cell phone on board, if cell phones were a real danger then they would not be in carry on allowance anymore.

FAA is very conservative, and the FCC is a political body.

That is all

Re:funny (1)

jakosc (649857) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655671)

True. I always thought part of the reason cell phones were banned (at least in the beginning) was so people would have to use the airphones (and pay the exorbitant fees).

I suspect the original reason may well have been that, but I think it must have shifted as time went on (airphones are much rarer now than they were). Article has a good point about crowd control. I've seen some pretty irate people on buses when the person next to them is talking loudly on their cell phone (I think it's responded to as an invasion of personal space), and can imagine that combining that with a crowd of people squashed together for hours would be pretty inflammatory.

Re:funny (2, Insightful)

senatorpjt (709879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655763)

I'd rather have people talking on phones than screaming kids, and they never seem to do anything about that.

Re:funny (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655875)

this is funny because he missed the obvious and actual reason. most planes ive flown on have had a phone on the arm rest with a little slot to swipe your credit card.
Well, there was this part of TFA which you must have overlooked:

"However, the airlines know that some kind of plane-to-ground communication is coming, and they want to profit from it. Simply allowing passengers to use their own cell phones in flight would leave the airlines out of the profit-taking. Airlines would prefer that phones be banned while they come up with new ways to charge for communication, such as the coming wave of Wi-Fi access. Meanwhile, the ban is potentially more profitable."

Of course, plane-to-ground communication is already here for the most part and available for $3 a minute or whatever ridiculous charge it is these days.
 

Not quite (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655895)

My father is a retired Pilot (Air Force, then the American Airlines). Since I used to work for Jeppesen, we have had some interesting conversations about this. He has said that he has seen nav equipment messed with that the FAA said was cell phones. Now it was early 90's, and likely to be one of the analog phone, but they were not certain. But some of his old co-pilots (now all senior captains for American), says that several instruments will be interfered with from time to time and they believe it to be cell phone. In general, they claim that most of the interference occurs on the ground (i.e. as soon as the phones are turned on). Now, I do not know why that is, but I would want to make certain before allowing them to be used. It is possible that it is just one frequency or type of phone that is causing the issue. My question is, why has the FAA not determined where the issue is? ALPA is actively pushing against allowing the phone usage until FAA or FCC can explain what is causing this.

Re:funny (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655977)

I think it's worth noting that it costs a _fortune_ to route calls through a satallite. If the airlines are making a profit from air phones, its a very thin one. (Insert conspiracy theory "they just want you to think it costs a fortune to route satallite calls" here)

My girlfriends pussy.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655509)

Smells like rotten meat. Does anyone have any suggestions, or should I just break up with her over it?

Re:My girlfriends pussy.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655577)

Smells like rotten meat. Does anyone have any suggestions
Yeah, don't go out with a zombie; their decaying flesh smells quite bad. Although your undead girlfriend also contacted me and asked me to give you a subtle heads-up about your bad breath.

Re:My girlfriends pussy.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655613)

Tell her to see a doctor. She may have contracted an STI. Try to be tactful (don't say "rotten meat"), but do get the message across, because an STI might leave her with long-term health problems such as infertility.

You should get yourself checked out too. You might be the source of the infection.

Slashdot - health advice for nerds.

Re:My girlfriends pussy.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655783)

Just deflate her and throw her away. Get a new one. Blow up dolls are not expensive.

airphones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655513)

that's what airphones are for!

Re:airphones, inseat phones inactive.?! (0, Redundant)

symonty (233005) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655853)

With no players anymore in the US, At&T and (GTE) Verizon out and aircell now offering Wifi instead of phone calls, this is not an option reason.

Also the only phones still avaliable on international planes are run by ARINC and SITA, which both now have a GSM ( cell phone ) picocell installation under testing for installation this year.

There is no technical nor marketing reason you can't have a cell phone on board, if cell phones were a real danger then they would not be in carry on allowance anymore.

How about keeping some peace and quiet?? (1)

originalhack (142366) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655517)

RTFA. They realize that they would have passengers yapping loudly through entire flights oblivious to their neighbors who are getting ready to chuck them overboard? They rightly do not want their people in the middle of that.

Re:How about keeping some peace and quiet?? (4, Interesting)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655799)

Chuck them overboard?! Could we make them walk the plank aswell?

Seriously, if that was really the reason then you'd have to ask why planes have reclining seats and music via headphones. Each of those is equally capable of being annoying.

TFA's "they don't want testing because testing costs money" argument doesn't stand up to scrutiny either. Just because planes could be allowed to tested for phone usage doesn't mean planes would have to allow phones to be used. It would be up to the plane manufacturers to decide to have their plane designed and tested for that "feature" and then up to the airlines if they wanted to pay the inevitable extra cost for such a plane, and then of course pass that on in extra cost to the passengers.

Benefits of allowing phones on flights (1)

rune-bare-rune (74864) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655521)

The one benefit I can think of is that the airlines then must make a "quiet zone", with no phones, no loud talkers, and NO CRYING BABIES!

I don't buy the crowd control thing (5, Interesting)

DarkFencer (260473) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655523)

There are already enough planes that have satellite television (including news channels) along with air phones (at a very high cost - yes but still a source of information.

The real reason? Its bad enough when people are yapping on their phones constantly on the ground. Getting stuck on a plane near someone who won't shut up on the phone is MUCH MUCH worse due to the duration and the captive audience. For that reason I hope cell phones are never allowed (and if they are it should be a cell phone only section kept reasonable sound proof from the rest of the plane).

Re:I don't buy the crowd control thing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655623)

Fully agree. Why do people focus on the technical aspects of this? It's the same reason you're asked to turn your phones off in a movie theater: because there are OTHER PEOPLE AROUND.

How is this such a hard concept to grasp? It would be nice, though, if the FCC or FAA released a statement along those lines, but it might give them some unwanted feedback... I mean, who's going to admit that the real reason is because people, on the whole, are inconsiderate turds?

Re:I don't buy the crowd control thing (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655639)

Getting stuck on a plane near someone who won't shut up on the phone is MUCH MUCH worse due to the duration and the captive audience. For that reason I hope cell phones are never allowed (and if they are it should be a cell phone only section kept reasonable sound proof from the rest of the plane).

What's the difference betweent talking on the phone and talking to someone's friend next to them? Should all talking be banned as well?

Re:I don't buy the crowd control thing (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655749)

Hearing one side of conversation is far more distracting than hearing both sides. You can't shut your ears like you can shut your eyes - you can TRY to ignore sounds, that's about it, and your brain unavoidably tries to use a significant amount of processing power trying to reconstruct the other side of one side of a conversation. This is not deliberate, it just happens, even if you *really* don't *want* to listen in. Plus, people on the phone consciously or unconsciously talk more loudly and more clearly than in normal conversation. That is really annoying, because it makes it harder to ignore them.

Re:I don't buy the crowd control thing (2, Insightful)

Carbonite (183181) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655761)

In my experience, people tend to talk louder on cell phones than when talking to the person next to them. It's probably to compensate for a perceived lack of clarity in the connection.

Re:I don't buy the crowd control thing (4, Informative)

div_2n (525075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655765)

People tend to talk louder on cell phones than regular phones. [npr.org] There is no feedback of their own voice.

Re:I don't buy the crowd control thing (1)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655823)

IF YOU TALK REALLY LOUDLY TO YOUR FRIEND IT'S ANNOYING TOO.

People *tend* to, on average, talk more loudly on their cells than they would to someone who's actually sitting next to them. I imagine that the reception in a plane wouldn't be any better than in a restaurant, so they'd have even more encouragement to talk really loudly.

And yes, there are some conversations I'd really rather not hear :P When I'm emperor of the universe I won't ban all talking, but I'll reserve the right to tell certain individuals to talk about something else please.

Re:I don't buy the crowd control thing (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655879)

Well in my anecdotal experience in addition to be louder, people tend to be more candid on cell phones than when talking to another person in a public area. When I was in college I always found it fascinating to listen to the snippets of conversations that I could hear from people on cell phones while on my way to class. One girl was yapping about the venerial disease she apparently contracted recently. I doubt she would have talked about such a subject that loudly if the conversation partner was next to her. Certainly not something I would want to hear from someone sitting next to me on a trans-ocean flight.

Re:I don't buy the crowd control thing (4, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655779)

Reception is very weak at best in mid-flight anyway. The only decent way to prevent people from using the phone on ascent or descent is to take them away, or better, turn the passenger cabin into a faraday cage.

I think it was Jet Blue that had the situation where passengers could see the news about their flight through satellite TV, something about damaged landing gear. I don't remember anything about a crew or passenger mutiny in the news reports.

Re:I don't buy the crowd control thing (4, Informative)

ffejie (779512) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655911)

You are indeed correct. JetBlue landing gear mishap [msn.com] .

Re:I don't buy the crowd control thing (4, Interesting)

GroundBounce (20126) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655905)

I believe this hits the real point. I travel a fair amount on business and spend enough time in airports to know that there are a significant number of people who would probably talk on their phones as continuously in flight as they do on the ground if given the chance, and these aren't just businesspeople. Either way you handle this in flight will be a problem. If cells can be used anywhere on the plane, there will be a big backlash of annoyed passengers; if they are confined to a few rows, they will annoy and interfere with each other which will encourage many of them to ignore the row designations and still cause problems for others; plus even if they don't, it will still be a problem for several "normal" rows adjacent to the cell phone section.

Wifi on planes will be MUCH less of a problem in terms of annoyance to other passengers.

Unfortunately, the best solution is the one that is already in place on some planes - a public pay phone in the seat. It costs money to use, so people won't use it idly, but important business and personal calls that justify the cost can still be made.

The Easy Solution for Mobile Phone Yappers (1)

SRA8 (859587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655923)

Take out your phone. Look at person you is bothering you. Pretend to speak into the phone, "Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello?" They will soon run away if they can.

Re:I don't buy the crowd control thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655945)

Exactly. The standard issue screaming baby is quite enough BS for any given flight. I swear, I can count on one hand the number of times I've flown without a screaming baby. Even when going to a place that doesn't appear to have any kids! I went to a carribean island, and the only 3 children under the age of 5 I saw the whole time were 3 newborns on the plane shrieking their little heads off. They must have some sort of rent-a-baby network to ensure complete coverage of all flights.

Anyway, people who won't shut up are bad enough, but give one of them a cellphone? No, not now, not ever. The credit card ones work because they're so expensive that you can't yap for long, and that's just how I like it. Also, the crowd control isn't insignificant. Soon enough, someone will get a cell phone call saying their daughter was in some horrible accident, and they'll be frantically trying to get the plane turned around or something.

There are only two proper things to do on a plane.

1) Sleep.
2) Read.

That's it. Anyone who does something else needs to be (to steal an old phrase) drug out into the street and shot.

FUD (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655527)

'Nuff said.

ELMER (2, Insightful)

100 Percent Troll (734434) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655693)

'Smore said?

but the Mythbusters tested it (2, Informative)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655533)

Who wrote this article?! Of course the FAA and FCC tested it. And so did the Mythbusters on a recent show. They proved if you hold the cell phone close enough, the radiation if gives off can affect equipment that would definitely result in a plane crash. It's horribly unlikely that a cell phone way back in the passenger area would affect the equipment but it's still possible, which makes it about as good of an idea as when the gas station near me had an open grill brat fry about 15 feet from the pumps. Yeah it's probably far enough away but do you really want to risk it? Same thing on planes so stop complaining.

if that was really true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655859)

Planes would be dropping out of the sky left and right. Cell phone radiation is miniscule compared to all the other RF in the air any time. Methinks perhaps joe mythbusters got a friendly bit of "scientific advice" from some scary looking guys in dark suits before they ran that episode.

doesn't matter (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655535)

It annoys me often enough to hear people always talking loudly to their cell phones when I sit in a bus or in a tram. Constant talking in an airplane would be a much bigger pain in the arse.

Re:doesn't matter, ban stupid internet people. (2, Insightful)

symonty (233005) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655685)

This is a technical reason for a regulatory body to ban a technology?
Next ... I hate the stupid people on the internet and so I think the internet should be banned too!

Easily Tested? (4, Insightful)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655539)

It might be easy in theory, but you need to think of scale. Take all of the cellphone manufacturers, during the course of a year a lot of cellphones are released. So each year you have a lot of cellphones to test. Then, the test itself isn't so clear-cut. Sure, that 1-year-old 737 might run fine, but what about the 7-year-old 737? It might have less around the electronics, or casual wear-and-tear might have left an opening. Put both factors together, and testing isn't so easy. Sure, it's possible but is it really worth the effort?

Re:Easily Tested? (1)

Kiaser Wilhelm II (902309) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655625)

I would hope that any testing would test more than one piece of equipment on one airplane.

Not easily tested at all (4, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655703)

It's worse than just the combinations of phones and planes. An aircraft makes a nice enclosed resonant space for cell signals to bounce around inside. Anyone who has looked at simulating or measuring RF fields would know that the field strength can vary by orders of magnitude depending on the exact location, orientation, and frequencies of the emitter and the exact orientation and location of the susceptible wiring or instrument. A tall person sitting in seat 6B with a CDMA phone may cause no problems, but a short person with a GSM phone in seat 32F could interfere with the automatic landing system. The field strength won't necessarily drop with distance inside the plane and may be focused to high levels anywhere inside the aluminum tube.

And testing individual phones isn't sufficient. What happens when 100 people all use their phones at the same time.

Speaking about 737s (1)

vlad_petric (94134) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655863)

They started making them in 68! I wouldn't be too surprised if the old models used analog signaling (much more susceptible to noise than digital stuff). Anyway for people who don't believe that cellphones are noisy, there's a simple test - just place call with a GSM phone near a radio...

Right. (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655543)

Lots of empty arguments, lots of ads. Holy siamese twins Batman, do you think there could be a connection?

Just say so (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655545)

I actually largely agree with airlines, but why not just *say* that's the reason? It's like we have to be super-sensitive and never shatter Miss Chatterbox's worldview that she isn't a pain in the ass to everyone else. I'd bet most people would agree with such a ban, too.

But why does it even have to come to a ban? Can't you just have "cell phone OK" parts of the plane and let them suffer with each other?

Crowd control (0, Troll)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655561)

If they mean controlling what happens on the plane when several people get fed up with the babble of the idiot next to them and shove his phone up his ass, then this might be valid.

Fifteen years ago if you saw someone with a cell phone you knew it was a Doctor or someone with equally important reason to be "on-call". Today you know they are just another servant on a leash!

Re:Crowd control (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655617)

I have a cell phone because it is a cheap and convenient way to have a phone number. It costs me $20 and it works in most of the places I go. I can turn it off whenever I want. There isn't anyone who can call me and make me do anything. So at best, they are *probably* another servant on a leash!

Re:Crowd control (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655637)

$20 a month, damnit.

I really dont mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655567)

People have been living without phones on planes for this long, might as well continue.
I really dont want to have to deal with other peoples conversations all flight long.

Re:I really dont mind (1)

dheera (1003686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655729)

... then how do you deal with other peoples' in-person conversations in planes?

I personally have no issues with people having cell phone conversations, as long as they keep it to the same normal voice they would if they were talking to someone right next to them.

I'm fine with the ban (2, Insightful)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655579)

The only thing that could make my flights even more stressful than they already are (babies screaming, kids behind me hitting my seat, the person in front of me immediately putting their seat back, giving me no room to lean forward, etc...) would be someone sitting next to me, who does not apparently have the ability to control the volume of their voice, chatting away for the full 2 hours while I try to sleep. And to make matters worse, they'll probably be eating at the same time.

I'd be ok with the cellphone/no cellphone section division, though. That would be cool. Or maybe a special room for people talking on the phone. That way, I could use it without bothering anyone else if I absolutely have to make a call.

Re:I'm fine with the ban (3, Interesting)

dheera (1003686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655839)

I'm fine with babies screaming and people having conversations. I don't mind if cellphones can be feasibly allowed and people be required to keep their conversations to a whisper.

What *does* bug me the most about travelling on planes:
1. Fat people. No offense, but I feel like I have a right to my entire seat and 50% of the armrest. I don't mean to offend obese people, but if they cannot respect my rights to that space without elbows and legs brushing against me for the entire flight, they need to purchase a first class seat or two seats or something. No, it's *not* ok to plop yourself down and arrogantly and comfortably take up the entire both armrests on both sides of you. If you are fat, it's your fault. Period.

2. Smelly people.

3. People who aren't nice about travel needs (like having to get up to go to the bathroom, get up to walk around because you have a medical condition that requires you to), people who argue with flight attendants about stupid stuff ("No! I paid for this seat and I'm *not* moving" [even though an old woman really needs that seat])

4. People who aren't nice to you. I was once on a flight and after the lights were turned off in cruising altitude, I slowly put my seat back to go to sleep. A couple of minutes later, the guy behind me started pounding on the seat, probably trying to tell me to put my seat back in the upright position. He didn't bother to talk at all, didn't bother to get up and at least signal at me nicely if he didn't speak English, he didn't do anything. He just kept pounding on my seat for the entire flight, periodically.

5. People who rest their hands on the top of the seat in front of them, in a fashion that causes their fingers to touch the person's hair in front, and refuse to remove their hand.

6. People who look so antisocial and angry-faced and silent that you can't figure out if they have some terrorist plot behind their eyes. Cheerful people are much easier to be around.

7. People who think that a flight is the place to hit on girls.

journalist statistics (1)

t35t0r (751958) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655581)

If gadgets can't crash planes, then the ban is costing billions of hours per year of lost productivity by business people who want to work in flight.

Millions of man hours in playing solitaire/minesweeper is costing billions per year in lost productivity and taxes for the government. I say that the FAA and FCC get together and put a ban on these, especially while in flight.

Re:Gadgets crash planes? Forget shoe bombs! (1)

symonty (233005) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655951)

Then we need a ban on carry on for cell phones, laptops etc...

FAA is conservative, FCC is a political ... This is more a factor.

myth busted? (1)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655585)

They tested this [wikipedia.org] on Mythbusters and had difficulty getting phones to interfere even in contrived scenarios such as at point blank range, with very old navigation equipment.

I've never heard of any incident where navigation equipment was actually affected by a cell phone in the real world. Wouldn't you think if it were even possible, it would have happened at least once?

Recently I was on a flight where this chick yacked on some business call for almost 30 minutes while we were waiting to back out from the gate. I wish assholes wouldn't use cell phones on the airplane, same as in restaurants or movies. It sucks, but why do we need this BS excuse about interference?

Re:myth busted? (1)

user24 (854467) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655629)

You really didn't RTFA, did you? Look at page 3, where they state:

The TV show MythBusters "busted" as a myth the conventional wisdom that phones interfere with avionics.

Re:myth, how to crash a plane? (1)

symonty (233005) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655773)

So they should be banning carry on cell phone, not use on board?

Re:myth busted? (1)

jmv (93421) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655829)

They tested this on Mythbusters and had difficulty getting phones to interfere even in contrived scenarios such as at point blank range, with very old navigation equipment.

The problem with this is that even if you can only repeat the problem once every million flight, it's bound to cause crashes. Oh, and I would expect recent equipment to be more affected, especially stuff like GPS.

I've never heard of any incident where navigation equipment was actually affected by a cell phone in the real world. Wouldn't you think if it were even possible, it would have happened at least once?

There have been many reported incidents, see "Unsafe at any speed?".

It sucks, but why do we need this BS excuse about interference?

How about "because it's not an excuse and we still don't know exactly how bad it is"? Slightly off topic, I became really convinced of how real cellphone interferences are when I realised my (wired) phone at work makes strange noises every time the guy next door receives a call on his mobile.

Re:myth busted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655899)

GPS doesn't operate on the same frequency as GPS smart one. The problem is in the 900mhz band for cell phones which the u.s doesn't even have in use. The bands we use (850mhz and 1900mhz) are ok. However that is just GSM. For other services they are nowhere near the frequencies that airline equipment use. The only cellular type device that does interfear with airline equipment is satilite phones. Normal ground based cell phones don't do anything to interfear.

Re:myth busted? (1)

jmv (93421) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655949)

Oh, we have an anonymous expert here. So if the frequencies are different, it can never interfere, right? Because everyone knows all band-pass filters are perfect and all electronic components are always perfectly linear... Same thing on a different kind of wave, ever seen these nice ultra-sound speakers that can be used to produce highly-directional audible sounds? They use multiple transducers with very slightly different frequencies ... and the non-linearity of the air causes the lower frequencies to appear.

Re:myth busted? (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655961)

Yes, sometimes I take Mythbusters with a pinch of salt. OTOH some idiot left their phone on near the cockpit. As we landed, the clicking of the GSM handshake was clearly audible over the PA. A GSM phone near audio or AM wiring definitely causes audible interference. Its particularly a problem with systems like GSM because of the use of pulses. It isn't hard to imagine that giving some issues with some of the equipment used for ILS or Navigation, especially if we are talking about lots of mobiles at the same time.

And on Page 2, the real real reason (4, Insightful)

user24 (854467) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655587)

Crowd Control? People getting annoyed at other people using cellphones? Perhaps historically, but look at page 2:

 

"However, the airlines know that some kind of plane-to-ground communication is coming, and they want to profit from it ... Airlines would prefer that phones be banned while they come up with new ways to charge for communication, such as the coming wave of Wi-Fi access"


Bingo!

however:
 

"So the ban remains in place because the government can't seem to come up with definitive answers."

you know, I'd rather the government (of whichever country) err on the side of caution, actually: "Well, we can't tell whether cellphones might cause crashes, so we'll just allow them and see what happens"?

Bottom line for me: people are annoying with cellphones. Now imagine sitting next to the guy talking shite for all 12 hours of a long haul flight. I'd hijack the plane just to shut him up. Keep the ban, people can surely live without cellphones for the duration of a flight... surely?

Billions and billions (4, Insightful)

Aeonite (263338) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655599)

If gadgets can't crash planes, then the ban is costing billions of hours per year of lost productivity by business people who want to work in flight.

What the author completely fails to address is the noise that ensues if you have ten businesspeople in first class all "doing business" on a cell phone at the same time. Are they supposed to wander the aisles and pace as they talk? Or merely talk over one another in increasingly loud voices?

There's something about a long tube that seems to suggest to people that maybe conversation should be kept to a minimum. Not only planes, but buses and subways and trains too. In my experience riding public transit, most people do not chatter on their phones endlessly. In part, I think, because there's an unconscious realization that the guy standing 6 inches away (that you can't move away from) does not want or need to hear your prattle.

Re:Billions and billions (1)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655689)

Simple, each seat should have it's own personal "bubble of solitude". Problem solved.

Finally, watching "Get Smart" has finally paid off on SlashDot.

Doubtful (2, Informative)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655739)

I manage to work on almost every business flight I take. Mostly by collecting and printing stuff that i need to read and learn, or by sitting with a notebook brainstorming technical problems. Occassionally (if i have a decent amount of leg room) then i'll pull out the laptop and do some actual coding.

It takes a little planning to find something to do but it's really not hard to make semi-productive use of that time.

Re:Billions and billions (5, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655741)

It's not an unconscious realization, it's common freakin' curtesy. But out of the thousands of people who fly each day, there's still going to be hundreds of ignorant assholes who are either too self-absorbed to realize, or to selfish to care. Flying is already an intense and intimidating experience for many people, long flights are generally uncomfortable and borderline miserable. Ever ride on a plane with a baby in a nearby seat? That can be annoying as all hell, but babies cry, they can't know any better, and so I deal with it. But if someone was talking loudly on their cell phone for a half hour, subjecting everyone around them to half of their conversation, I just don't know if I could take it.

As for billions in lost productivity (that number sounds rather high to me) because of people flying, big freakin' deal. Businesses have existed for thousands of years without cell phones, a few hours disconnected here and there won't put our economy into a recession.

Cell hopping? (4, Insightful)

growse (928427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655615)

I was always under the impression that a mobile phone travelling at 500+ mph on a plane would be hopping from network cell to cell fairly regularly (once every few seconds?). This sort of frequent handover would then a) make it difficult to make, receive and conduct a call and b) cause issues for the phone networks if you've got num_people_per_plane * num_planes_in_sky_over_country people's phones all doing the same hops fairly regularly. Meh.

I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655619)

How is someone talking on a cell phone any more annoying than the typical drunk vacationers yelling across the rows to their buddies? Or the surly teen with his music cranked up so loud I can hear the lyrics from outside his headphones?

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655653)

Because there would be at least 30 times as many of them.

Rubbish (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655635)

From TFA:

The airlines fear "crowd control" problems if cell phones are allowed in flights. They believe cell phone calls might promote rude behavior and conflict between passengers, which flight attendants would have to deal with. The airlines also benefit in general from passengers remaining ignorant about what's happening on the ground during flights, including personal problems, terrorist attacks, plane crashes and other information that might upset passengers.

      Please explain the existence of "AirFones" if this is true?

Re:Rubbish (1)

Giometrix (932993) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655699)

"Please explain the existence of "AirFones" if this is true?"

I don't know how much the use of an airfone is per minute, but I imagine its much, much more than the use of a cellphone. The problem isn't a couple of people using the phone for a few minutes, its having 50 or so people babbling on the phone at any given time, for an extended period of time.

Re:Rubbish (2, Interesting)

Blahbooboo3 (874492) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655851)

If you are commenting about the fear of conflicts due to rude behavior, the AirFones are fine because no one uses them. I may have seen this phone used 1-2 times in the last 10 years. The fact is they are HUGELY expensive so people either don't use the service or use it for 2-3 minutes at most.

Now, compare that with a plane full of people with cell phones that have cheap plans where they can gab on for hours and, with power adapters, the phone can last the entire flight. Awful right? Even the nicest person would be hard-pressed to not start telling the person to hang the damn thing up.

I already see this on Amtrak between Boston and NYC. People gab loudly and for HOURS. Amtrak had to make a QUIET CAR because the amount of noise had gotten so awful due to impolite cell users.

"Cell phone section" (1)

Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655673)

To those that are agreeing or suggesting a dedicated section of the plane for phone talkers -- including TFA -- I suggest this: Next time you're on a plane, ask somebody on the other end of the plane from you to simulate talking on their cell. You'll hear it anywhere in the plane. Now imagine a whole section of people talking, perhaps even gesturing wildly! Oh the humanity...

Basically the entire article is "They could do this... but the ban is cheaper." Of course! We're talking about corporations here! I know the FCC and FAA would love to spend taxpayer monies to study the issue, though. I think the article's author is just bitter he can't use his Crackberry while on a plane.

I say keep the ban in place, but be honest about the fact that people who will talk on their phone all the damn time are annoying. I have to deal with all kinds of people on their phones at work in public. Be honest with yourself, people. You talk loud when you're on a cell phone. I don't want that in an airplane. Noise canceling headphones only go so far.

What about phones left on. (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655691)

Ok so you tell someone not to make a phone call to it doesnt jack with the plane system. You ask people to turn there phones off for the same reason. But who is to say that everyone turnes there phone off? Just because your phone is not making a call doesn't mean it isn't sending out information.

I still get that buzzing sound from my PC speakers when i'm not on the phone.

GSM network (2, Interesting)

blwrd (455512) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655707)

At least based on this site [moo.pl] , there is absolutely no GSM reception above 650m (2100ft). So I guess the plane would need an own GSM base station for the cell phones to work.

Re:GSM network (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655963)

As a private pilot who regularly flies with my cell phone on, I call bullshit.

The Author is an Idiot (1, Funny)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655711)

Never have I seen so much hand-waving in an article on a technical subject. Either the author is a complete idiot, or he's a member of the John Dvorak school of trolling.

Sure, we could solve the problem if we completely redesigned, modified and tested every susceptible aircraft and cellular network on the planet. That wouldn't cost much money.

Anyone who uses the results of an episode of Mythbusters as proof of anything deserves to be ridiculed.

Interference (1)

jmv (93421) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655737)

The two public reasons, interference with other systems, could easily be tested, but neither the FAA nor the FCC manage to do such testing.

Actually, there was an article in IEEE Spectrum about a year ago on interference testing in planes: "Unsafe at any airspeed?". They were measuring what's currently happening when people disobey rules (or just use devices that behave strangely). I don't remember the details, but I remember that the conclusion was along the lines of "this looks a bit scary and you definitely don't want to allow cell phones in planes without doing at least a lot more careful studies". Also, their guesstimate (based on frequency of interference-related incidents and typical accident-to-incidents ratios) was that cell phones (and other electronic devices) might have contributed to about one major accident (expected value) every 12 years. That with the current "ban" (that some people ignore).

I still like the ban... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655747)

Sheesh. The article reads a little like a tinfoil hat conspiracy. I really don't care what reason they choose to tell me for keeping wireless phones off planes. I'm just glad they do. Hearing 1/2 of 75 outdoor voice conversations in a cramped human cargo compartment for an hour and a half would be unbearable. Now, if they can apply the same reasoning from the article ("They believe cell phone calls might promote rude behavior and conflict between passengers, which flight attendants would have to deal with.") to restaurants and movie theaters, I'd be one happy camper.

Author is an idiot; the carrier reason is valid (5, Informative)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655751)

Mike Elgan, the article's author brushes off the problem of an airborne cell phone seeing a large number of cell towers at once. He claims it could be easy to fix with a software upgrade to the towers. Nonsense. The fundamental problem is that there is only a finite range of frequencies for cell phone calls. The more towers a given phone's signal is visible to, the more towers whose frequencies you're chewing up. Redesigning the system to support cell calls would be massively expensive. Is the value of being able to make cell calls from a plane really that valuable? Who is going to pay for the overhaul? Elgan is just whining.

Elgan points out that Europe is working on making this work. Tellingly, they're not just letting the phones connect to towers normally; they're shielding the cabin and routing connections through dedicated on-plane hardware. This is reasonable as it means you have a single source (the plane's hardware) that can far more efficiently utilize tower frequency space. Furthermore, the cost of making the changes falls on the airlines, who will pass it on to the logical people: the fliers who want to use this service.

Re:Author is an idiot; the carrier reason is valid (2, Interesting)

koreth (409849) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655891)

Plus, Europe doesn't have a bunch of competing cell phone standards to deal with. It's much easier to equip planes with cell-tower equivalents when you only have to do GSM. An American carrier that wanted to provide all its customers with cell service would have to support a couple of extra signal types, presumably making it more expensive.

Interference is actuall real (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655759)

My 0.02 as an air carrier pilot... I've seen 3 actual instances of interference from not just cell phones,
but also data cards. 2 were voice bleed over when the persons cell phone was transmitting in analog mode, and the other was an AHRS (attitude and heading reference system...VERY important) which took a dump when someone started using their data card..fortunately it was good weather and the AC had an iron gyro backup system. Filed NASA ASRS reports on each. I certainly wouldn't use "Mythbusters" as any source of certification data.

You have to understand that in the avionics can be located anywhere in the plane, not just upfront. On top of that the FAA is VERY picky about figuring out the worst case and applying it to all situations. If a person is in back using an old analog brick phone on a older aircraft, say a 727 or DC-9, and there is the even a remote chance of interference, everything will be prohibited, because how in the world are you going to police every make and model of phone with all the variations of aircraft?

The NTSB files are chock full of accidents that happened because something happened that someone said couldn't, so I'm perfectly happy with the ban. If it keeps them from chatting loudly in my ear as I try to commute home, well that's just a bonus.

Cell phones and smoking have one thing in common (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655787)

Do these things where I am not forced to participate. We do not need closed quarters to be any more uncomfortable. What I would support is for a stewardess to keep one phone of some kind that is known not to compromise the onboard system. Either passengers or people on the ground can use this phone, with stewardess'es approval, to relay emergency or other essential messages.

Real reason - 911 (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655793)

When people figure out how bad service is at cruising altitudes, they will start to question how all of those nice clear calls were made from those hijacked planes.

See here [911review.org] Project Achilles' Report

Transporter_ii

Re: Cell phones not made to work that high (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655917)

From cnn.com:

...And cell phones sometimes have trouble working when the plane is at cruising altitude because phone towers aren't built to project their signals that high.

Source [cnn.com]

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't they have to come up with what amounts to an onboard cell site/repeater to make the cell phones work from a flying airplane?

Transporter_ii

Aliens! (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655809)

It's teh aliens!
They don't want anyone to find out they eat people's brains while on the plane and replace them with evil clones!

Next time you're thinking of flying somewhere, try walking instead, it might just save your delicious delicious brainses!

The reason I like the ban... (1)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655811)

The last thing I need to spend five hours (plus or minus two while waiting on the runway) listening to the girl next to me talk to her boyfriend, the guy sitting behind me working out a business deal and the old man across the aisle constantly yelling for all the young spoiled brats to shut up.

Because being subjected to that travesty of a Rocky movie, crying babies, and airline food isn't bad enough already...

Keep The Ban! (1)

sciop101 (583286) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655821)

In case of emergency, I need to call

1. The Washington Post to give my story.

2. 911 to get help.

Maybe. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655837)

They just don't want you yappin' in everyones ear. Theres enough damn annoyances in the world without another.

Cingular messes with the radio... (1)

Seanjay1 (1085663) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655845)

Yeah, I'd love to use my phone, etc. on the plane but with the interference it causes to my car radio I'd rather avoid the pilots having to deal with that. Shoot, I almost got kicked off a bus in Seattle once because it was interfering with the intercom and I didn't even know it until I found out it was downloading a podcast automatically. Had to turn it off & apologize profusely.

not exact;ly true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18655849)

the airlines make a fortune with their own phones, you know, the one where you have to use your credit card. If they allow passengers to use their own phone, the airlines would lose their profit on phones. That is also why they have been fighting voip too.

Response from a Pilot (5, Interesting)

nhtshot (198470) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655861)

I posted this to the original article as well, but I felt the slashdot community might derive some value from it as well. The interference issue is a VERY real one. I can't emphasize this enough. It's easy to debate this issue on the ground, but try debating it 2 miles above the ground when your only lifeline is a thin needle on a panel that is controlled by a radio transmitter on the ground. I have a personal experience with cellphone nav interaction. I've also watched the mythbusters episode. Everyone here knows that mythbusters, while entertaining, is not entirely scientific. I certainly am not willing to stake my life on the thoroughness of their conclusions.

Without further prefacing, here is my original post:

You mention in your article that "Many headsets used by private pilots come with jacks for using them with cell phones. The manufacturers say they're for use on the ground only. But many private pilots use them in the air without incident."

I fall into this category. However, I've also seen the dangers of airborne cell phone use. I carry a Nextel branded Blackberry. From my experience, it's not a very good phone to use on board an aircraft. About every 20 minutes or so, the phone goes into a signal frenzy. It's as if it finds multiple strong towers to connect to and is unable to choose. This results in a barrage of beeps and lights while it tries to figure out what's going on.

Furthermore, the risks of interference are very real. When I'm using the phone, I never notice the interference. I recently let someone else use my phone and was very surprised. My headset (flight radio headset) emitted a horrible scratching noise. I was totally unable to hear anything on the radio. I quickly looked at my VOR (radio navigation, NOT a gps) , and noticed that it was off coarse as well. Now, had I not been certain that I was on the right course, I might have well thought I was off course and corrected in an ultimately wrong direction.

I'm not sure if you're familiar with VOR technology, but it's the primary aviation navigational aid. GPS is wonderful, but it's still not the primary navigation mechanism. GPS is considered a "non-precision" navigation tool. VOR and ILS are still the primary mechanisms and they are dependent upon terrestrial radio transmissions. This is where the cellphone interference comes into play. Most cell phones operate in the 800mhz range. I'll save you a lesson in radio technology by simply stating that they can often have harmonic emissions in the same bands as used for aircraft navigation.

While you state that countless numbers of phones are left on during flights, this is not particularly dangerous. A phone ranging a tower is only actively transmitting for a very short period of time every 20 minutes or so at regular speeds. A phone that is in active use is a source of radio emissions that is in VERY close proximity to the aircraft communications and navigation antennas and is operating on a frequency that can have interfering harmonics. I have personal experience with the reactions a nav needle can have to a cellphone.

Imagine if the weather was bad (instrument meteorological conditions or IMC) and you were trying to land a large passenger airliner using nothing but a small needle on the panel to align with the runway. Then, a passenger starts talking to their uncle Bill about his bypass surgery and that needle jumps even 10 degrees off position. Now, instead of aligning with a runway, you're aligning with a corn field.

To answer your thoughts about shielding, that's not a viable solution. You would either have to shield the passenger cabin from radio emissions or shield the comm/nav antennas from it. In either case, the shielding to protect them from each other would seriously impair their usefulness. A passenger cabin shielded from RF emissions wouldn't allow your cell signal to get out, thereby negating the purpose. Shielding the comm/nav antennas sounds like a good idea until you realize that oftentimes nav aids and aircraft controllers are not oriented in front of a moving aircraft. It's quite common to refer to a VOR that is to the left, the right or even behind the aircraft as a waypoint. Since totally shielding the antennas would render them useless, the only option would be to shield the area where they're exposed to the passenger cabin. That, however, would seriously impair the pilots ability to use all the nav aids available to him.

Bottom line: The interference IS possible and the risks of an interference situation are grave. Additionally, short of the cell companies redesigning their phones and networks to avoid harmonizing aircraft frequencies, there is no solution. Therefore, prohibition is the only option.

For an article with *real* research done... (4, Informative)

Himuanam (852822) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655883)

From the IEEE's Spectrum magazine last year, they actually measured RF signals on flights and reported on the results. No smoking gun where an accident was caused by a cell phone, but still interesting nonetheless (and no ads!). http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/mar06/3069 [ieee.org]

Billions? (0, Flamebait)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655929)

If gadgets can't crash planes, then the ban is costing billions of hours per year of lost productivity by business people who want to work in flight.


Atleast he didn't quote some made up fact of "Billions of dollars of lost productivity".

I ride the train to work every day, it's an above ground train so you can use your cell phone. I realized that the one thing I hate most is the invention of cell headsets. either the little cable that comes with the phone (which hangs down by your chest) or the tiny bluetooth headsets. Either way, people think they need to yell to be heard. I can't imagine sitting on a flight to Tokyo in the middle section with a few people around you all yelling into their bluetooth headsets to be heard above the drone of the engines and the other people on flight.

While on the train I can get up and move to a different seat or stand by the door. On an airplane I'm forced to sit next to this moron yelling in whatever language he is fluent in. I think i could make billions selling a 'bluetooth' jammer http://www.ladyada.net/make/wavebubble/index.html [ladyada.net] right before you get on the flight.

What about WIFI? That's all I need some jerkoff, connecting to the internet, firing up Vonage/VOIP and then either a) using speakerphone and built in mic, OR b) Using a f-ing bluetooth headset. Also on the subject of wifi, that's all i need, I pay $10 (or whatever) and then get almost NO bandwidth as everyone has to fireup a VPN and connect to their Exchange servers. Also, if I pay $1000 for a first class ticket, do I get better wireless? Or a AP for ONLY first class passengers? Surely, if there are 20ppl in first class, I don't want to have to share it with the 200 cattle in the back.

All Right With Me (1)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655953)

Until they develop a mental-telepathy interface for cellphones, I'm just fine with this.

You know your argument is weak when... (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655967)

The TV show MythBusters "busted" as a myth the conventional wisdom that phones interfere with avionics.

The Mythbusters also constructed a fake airplane cabin and dropped themselves 10-20 feet onto solid ground to see which crash positions were safest. In the episodes I watched, they routinely ignore or arbitrarily (and grossly) weight evidence. It is psuedo-science at its finest: a moderate amount of science, and then simplified experiments without enough controls, that throw the whole "experiment" out the window. They're a bunch of special effects guys, with a couple of actors for assistance, on a TV show, for chrissakes.

It's not as simple as "flip on a laptop in the cabin, see if anything wonky happens." Mythbuster's idea of a "scientific" investigation would be to buy 10 laptops and try it in 2 planes, a jet, and a helicopter. It's "shotgun" science.

When I was young, my father was a commercial-license pilot (not "commercial" in money-making sense or letting you fly jumbos- it's the class of license) and we'd fly places on a semi-regular basis. We'd occasionally take along a laptop for looking at weather charts, planning the IFR flight, etc.

This was in the day of VHF/UHF beacons, used for direction-finding. They're still used, but back then, even LORAN units were kind of an unusual luxury, and most often used as a backup or confirmation of your primary instrumentation. You'd plan the flight following beacons, with cross-checks every so often to make sure you're where you think you are AND that everything is working properly. If it's a nice day out, you look for a tower or some other landmark and do a visual.

The issue, as he explained it, was this: what if the laptop makes the direction-finder off by a bit? Suddenly you're not where you thought you would be, and the laptop didn't give you any extra fuel, and the laptop didn't tell ATC that you were going off on a field trip from your flight plan, and the laptop didn't move that mountain or radio tower out of the way.

A lot of these are solveable problems, but pilots and scuba divers (particularly technical/cave/wreck divers) will tell you that big problems start from little ones. It's a snowball effect, and often just being distracted by a minor problem is enough to cause another minor problem to go unnoticed, until it becomes a BIG problem.

Other coutry's planes? (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18655969)

Is the cel phone ban universal and universally enforced, or are there countries with airlines that allow people to use cel phones now?

For instance, as recently as five years ago Aeroflot [aeroflot.ru] allowed smoking on board Trans-atlantic flights.

Surely one airline somewhere doesn't stop cel phone use, and would offer some actual insight into the question.
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