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Japanese Airlines Ban DS, PSP

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the this-will-last-about-five-minutes dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 145

Gamespot is reporting that Japanese Airlines such as Japan Airlines and ANA have banned the use of wifi-capable game devices, including the DS and PSP, over 'safety concerns'. From the article: "A law banning on gaming systems with wireless capabilities came into force on Monday, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Japan's transport ministry has concluded that the electromagnetic waves from the wireless networks can interfere with aircraft navigation systems, so it's no Nintendogs for passengers flying with Japanese airlines. The new law also bans wireless computer mice, and headphones that have not been provided by the airlines, although the use of electric razors, calculators, and cassette players is permitted, readers may be relieved to know."

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Here's your cue, Microsoft! (2, Funny)

EchoD (1031614) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839437)

Just in time for Microsoft to announce a hand-held without wireless capabilities! Sure, it'd be opportune... but I doubt I'm the only one who wouldn't buy it.

Re:Here's your cue, Microsoft! (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839585)

Also there's nothing worse than flying a red-eye while surrounded by kids playing pokemon at high volume. Victory!

Re:Here's your cue, Microsoft! (1)

edwdig (47888) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839941)

Try a red eye that's got an entire troup of girl scouts with a large supply of pixie sticks.

Re:Here's your cue, Microsoft! (2, Funny)

dintech (998802) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840243)

I think maybe Hell is something like that. A never ending late night, long haul flight with a bunch of kids making loads of noise while all the adults try to sleep.

No so bad if you're Gary Glitter...

Re:Here's your cue, Microsoft! (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 6 years ago | (#20841051)

There's something strangely... arousing... about what you just said.

the real reason (2, Funny)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839441)

"Sir...sir we need you to get off the plane. We arrived twenty minutes ago and we have to take off for the next flight. I don't care if you're almost to level 47, get off the plane!"

Fleecing? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839479)

Wireless computer mouses have also been banned aboard flights, along with headphones that are not provided by the airlines.
If airlines ban even wired headphones, then why does this remind me of the roughly 70% or larger gross margin that movie theaters take on candy (e.g. $0.88 Wal-Mart candy sold for $3.00)?

Re:Fleecing? (3, Informative)

CRiMSON (3495) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839555)

You mean the headphones they hand out free? Not sure how you can fleece someone with a free product. I've been on 4 different airlines in the past year and the headphones were always free to use.

Re:Fleecing? (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839707)

The headphones handed out for free by airlines are horrible. I always use my own which sound great, and actually FIT.

Re:Fleecing? (1)

Gwala (309968) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839723)

A lot of US airlines make you pay like $2.00 for them. American is a particularly guilty offender.

Re:Fleecing? (1)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839795)

Yes, they may charge you 2 bucks for the headphones, but they are "yours to keep". I think it's reasonable then.
However, their 5 dollar sandwiches and 2 dollar bottles of water are a wee bit too much.

Grump

Re:Fleecing? (1, Insightful)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839875)

Why? That food is "yours to keep" as well. They don't make you shit it out or vomit it back up before you get off the plane.

Re:Fleecing? (5, Funny)

SighKoPath (956085) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840085)

That entirely depends upon the pilot and the weather.

Re:Fleecing? (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840009)

But why would I WANT $2 headphones when they totally suck and I already HAVE headphones that are awesome?

Many airlines (such as United) charge you $4 or so for the "movie" and either give you the headphones or allow you to use your own. Not being allowed to use your own would really suck.

Re:Fleecing? (1)

Lost Engineer (459920) | more than 6 years ago | (#20844653)

Yeah but they haven't banned bringing your own.

Re:Fleecing? (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20845243)

Some airlines (particularly African airlines) would charge international passengers a small "fee" for using a set of headphones, around one or two US dollars or English pound notes. People would get around this by buying adaptors for converting a set of standard headphones to the connectors used by the airplane headphone system.

Headphones? (2, Interesting)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840925)

Sorry, but I fly on noisy commercial turboprops a lot (EMB 120 Brasilias), and I wear noise canceling headphones starting the instant those loud bastards start up. Many regular passengers do. I don't plug them into my ipod until the "OK to start your electronic devices" announcement. I've never had any question from a flight attendant. They're all wearing hearing protection too.

Re:Headphones? (1)

Proud like a god (656928) | more than 6 years ago | (#20842201)

Do they work passively/off sound energy, or with their own power source, or not properly until they're plugged in??

Re:Headphones? (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 6 years ago | (#20842265)

Do they work passively/off sound energy, or with their own power source, or not properly until they're plugged in??
They run off a single AA cell. Bose.

well, (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839485)

whilst I would like to see some research done into this I think that it seems like a fairly sensible policy if there is insufficient knowledge currently to be sure of the effect that it might have. If it saves even one life it seems to be worth the inconvenience (which is pretty minor anyway).

Re:well, (3, Insightful)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839573)

whilst I would like to see some research done into this I think that it seems like a fairly sensible policy if there is insufficient knowledge currently to be sure of the effect that it might have. If it saves even one life it seems to be worth the inconvenience (which is pretty minor anyway).

That idea can get pretty silly. For instance Peanut butter can kill people with severe allergies, ought we ban all peanut butter in public places? Bee stings can kill certian people, ought we ban bees? A CD could presumably kill someone in exactly the right circumstance ought we ban CD's? A Scarf could kill someone too (and have killed many children), it's only a small inconvenience to go without one so ought we ban scarves?

Re:well, (2, Insightful)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839799)

This is the nanny society we live in. In fact, many schools DO have a total ban on peanut butter just for that reason. Having a "peanut free" table instead would discriminate against the poor kids suffering with a peanut allergy. Yes, even at a high school, where the kid with the allergy should have enough sense not to eat another child's food by that age. I've lived with severe allergies my entire life, but a total ban on anything like that is insane.

Re:well, (1)

Tofystedeth (1076755) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840141)

I doesn't matter if the kid has sense not to eat other people's food. A lot of peanut allergies are really severe, and just the dust from someone a few seats over eating peanuts can cause a sometimes severe reaction.

Re:well, (4, Insightful)

Babbster (107076) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840475)

Yeah, you know what? Anyone that allergic ought to be wearing a fucking surgical mask. Hundreds of people - whether adults or children - should not have to change their eating habits for one person. Peanuts are not only tasty but they're nutritious as well. I'd certainly rather kids be enjoying some peanuts at lunch rather than some of the crap served by, and present in, public schools...

Re:well, (0, Troll)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 6 years ago | (#20841507)

You insensitive clod !
Ok. Lets say you have a kid. this kid is so allergic to peanuts that they could die, not from eating, but simply by being around someone that is eating peanuts or a product prepared with peanuts. You want to send this kid to school.
Do you:

1. Trust the (peanuts are ok!) public school to administer the life saving shot should your kid be exposed? (someone at the school must have gone through certified training for this, btw.)
        I don't know about you, but I went to a public school myself and...

2. Seek out a private school that is sensitive to your child's allergies and already has a no nuts/seeds policy in place as well as an actual nurse on full time staff (many do).

My kids and I love peanut butter... But we have become aware that there are many people with this life threatening allergy, some personal friends or schoolmates.
Luckily many private schools have adopted the no nuts / seeds policy. It is not too much to ask, that you eat your beloved peanut butter in
the sanctity of your own home, for the safetly of these unfortunate kids that don't have the skills yet to avoid every speck of peanut dust.

Yes they do have some nutritional value but 2/3 of the calories are pure FAT . ! I know this is offtopic, but really now.....If you are going to mod this
guy insightful...... look at it from another perspective than some guy that doesn't know the whole picture other than "how dare they restrict my PB&J"

Re:well, (3, Insightful)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 6 years ago | (#20842933)

Hey, if your kid is so allergic that my normal kid has to eat bologna sandwiches instead of PB&J, you can either pay to have your kid put in a bubble, pay to have your kid put in a private school, or pay to have my kid eat bologna. Your rights end where my nose begins, and this works both ways. I may have no right to knowingly make your kid sick, but you have no right to expect me to pick up the tab for it either.

Re:well, (2, Interesting)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#20845033)

Ok. Lets say you have a kid. this kid is so allergic to peanuts that they could die, not from eating, but simply by being around someone that is eating peanuts or a product prepared with peanuts.

No, let's not say that. First, let's see if there's any evidence at all to back up claims of such hypersensitivity, because without some I simply cannot believe that anyone could suffer any reaction at all from being near me as I eat peanut butter. If it were true, then those people would have to refrain from going anywhere where nuts could be consumed - restaurants, cafes, bars, coffee shops, even just out and about. They'd be prisoners in their own home.

Yes they do have some nutritional value but 2/3 of the calories are pure FAT . ! I know this is offtopic

It is, but so was the OP bringing up the fact that they're tasty and nutritional. It's completely irrelevant - unless it can be demonstrated that a significant risk exists from someone eating peanuts or peanut-containing food in proximity to someone who is allergic, then there simply is no need to ban them.

Re:well, (1)

Kamrom (609839) | more than 6 years ago | (#20844685)

It never made sense to me, when a school bans nuts...You see, I'm highly allergic to dust and mold. So much so that it can be fatal in the right amounts, and its fairly easy to get it into those amounts. But can I ever expect people to clean up dust? No, they toss it into the air and call it "dusting". And the mold. Its impossible for me to escape it. I should be able to demand everyone everywhere I go have all traces of dust and mold removed from them before they can participate in anything I feel like doing at that moment. But since its dust and mold, such common things, everyone expects ME to adapt. If these peanut jerks dont have to wear a surgical mask like I do all the time, how is that even sorta fair? They should see what its like, instead of being taught that the whole world will accomodate their health problem above every other concern.

Re:well, (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 6 years ago | (#20846151)

Hundreds of people - whether adults or children - should not have to change their eating habits for one person.

Yes, requiring people to refrain from eating peanuts for three hours so that peanut-allergic folk can travel in airplanes is a horrible injustice. Surely, we should just ban anyone with any allergies from flying on planes. While we're at it, we should probably ban wheelchair-bound people too, since they're just such a hassle.

Re:well, (5, Informative)

Cecil (37810) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840693)

A lot of peanut allergies are really severe, and just the dust from someone a few seats over eating peanuts can cause a sometimes severe reaction.

Myth. Peanut allergies can be severe, but never that severe. If you were in a peanut processing facility, or the person a few seats over was smashing hundreds of peanuts into peanut butter, maybe. Just eating peanuts is going to produce an infinitesimally small amount of dust. The likelihood of inhaling even a single particle of dust in that scenario approaches zero, and is not far from the likelihood of inhaling a piece of peanut dust that was picked up on the wind from a chinese peanut factory and blown around the world and directly into your mouth. They are both statistically implausible. And even if it were to happen, a single piece of peanut dust is not enough, in any recorded case of peanut allergy, to cause even a noticeable reaction.

Enough peanut allergens can actually be transferred through saliva (kissing) to cause a mild reaction in the severely allergic but even that is very infrequent, and I can't find a single case of death as a result (No, the death of the Quebec girl had nothing to do with her peanut allergy, contrary to the media reports, it was a cigarette-induced asthma attack)

Re:well, (1)

Sensible Clod (771142) | more than 6 years ago | (#20841265)

I know someone who has this kind of peanut allergy, and he really dislikes the smell of peanuts. As far as I know, it doesn't cause a reaction per se, but he really hates the smell of peanuts or peanut butter, even if it's just one person eating it near him. I figure it may cause a very mild immune response, which is why he hates the smell. (Prior to his first reaction, he liked peanut butter.)

Re:well, (1)

Homr Zodyssey (905161) | more than 6 years ago | (#20843227)

I was nauseated by most of the smells that could be found in my high school cafeteria.

Re:well, (1, Redundant)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840339)

Some people have peanut allergies so severe that even being in the same room where they could smell them is potentially fatal.

Re:well, (3, Insightful)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840561)

I believe there was a man who went by the name of Darwin who would have something to say about this.

Re:well, (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840611)

Then those people should probably be wearing masks. Seriously. If you life is at stake, would YOU take the chance that someone forgot about the ban and brought in a PB&J? Or had a snickers bar?

Re:well, (5, Funny)

mchale (104743) | more than 6 years ago | (#20841035)

Some people have peanut allergies so severe that even talking about peanuts is potentially fatal.

Re:well, (3, Funny)

bentcd (690786) | more than 6 years ago | (#20843137)

Some people have peanut allergies so severe that even being on the same planet as a peanut is potentially fatal.

Some people have peanut allergies so severe that even talking in a language that has a word for peanut is potentially fatal.

Some people have peanut allergies so severe that even the existence of the idea of something that may be vaguely peanut-shaped is potentially fatal.

Re:well, (1)

rxmd (205533) | more than 6 years ago | (#20843995)

Some people have peanut allergy allergies so severe that even being in the same room with a person with peanut allergy is potentially fatal.

Re:well, (1)

darkmayo (251580) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839831)

Hey I dont know about you but if wireless signals from said devices do/can cause issues with flight instrumentation I'd rather just play it safe. That being said I'd like to actually see studies on this.. maybe some tests have everyone on the play have a ds and playing mario kart wirelessly against each other while the plane is on the ground.

Re:well, (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#20842219)

If it saves even one life it seems to be worth the inconvenience (which is pretty minor anyway).

That idea can get pretty silly. For instance Peanut butter can kill people with severe allergies, ought we ban all peanut butter in public places?

The difference being, is the bodies that have to oversee air travel are required to be very conservative. They have to have strong evidence that "nothing will happen", as opposed to "no evidence that something might happen".

There are so many different kinds of planes (each with various models over various years) with so many different components, that short of testing every possible combination of wiring and potentially-emitting device, they simply can't reliably and conclusively say "no problems will ever happen". Think of a 747, which they've been making for around 40 years -- there's a LOT of different configurations of that plane alone. Different types of wiring, different options, etc.

That's sufficient to say "well, ban it all then". Because the risks of losing a planeload of people are just too high. It's not ideal, but it is a reflection of how bodies which govern air safety just have to err on the side of caution.

And, from what I'm hearing on news, some schools have pretty much taken the extreme position of outlawing all nut products. It sucks for those who like peanut butter, but the school has to err on the side of caution and not have a kid die on their watch.

I guess by the time you're an adult, you're on your own. :-P

Cheers

Re:well, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20843753)

ought we ban bees?

But I love bees, you insensitive clod!

Re:well, (2, Insightful)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839839)

It's a minor inconvenience to the public if we lock you up for the rest of your life on the off chance that you might someday, accidentally or deliberately, kill someone, hurt someone, or hurt someone's feelings. If it saves just one person's life, limbs, or dignity, how can it not be worth it?

Re:well, (1)

Kugala (1083127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840167)

I'm not aware of any consumer equipment that's going to bring down a plane, or even cause major failures alone. However, many systems, and especially radios, are pretty susceptible to interference. While a cell phone may not accidentally cause your rudder to jam right, they DO often make noise on audio systems, and that could easily take a recoverable emergency to a deadly crash. What happens when the pilot doesn't hear the tower tell him the gear aren't down? For the 'convenience' of aimless chatter with someone, I'd rather not take that risk. I'd especially prefer other people not apply that risk to me.

Re:well, (1)

toolie (22684) | more than 6 years ago | (#20841423)

There is a bunch of anecdotal evidence about interference messing with functions on an aircraft. The last I read (a couple years ago) on the subject talked in detail about an incident in which the navigation system on a commercial plane was giving erroneous data when one of the passengers had their MP3 player on.

In all the testing, nothing has been pinpointed. Interference concerns are why there is a ban on certain devices (most notable are RF emitters).

Re:well, (2, Insightful)

Voltageaav (798022) | more than 6 years ago | (#20841879)

You try spending an overseas flight without a PSP and then tell me it's a minor inconvenience. I generally can't sleep on planes, I can't read for more than 8 hours streight which is usually only half the flight. I'll go crazy without something to keep my mind occupied. My PSP has been a saving grace while flying and long flights are the only reason I bought extra batteries for it.

Re:well, (1)

Doctor Faustus (127273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20844683)

If you're flying with kids, I'd agree with you. If it's just you, read a book.

But... (1)

teh tw (1055686) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839517)

What about the wifi-enabled electric shavers? Does Japan really hate multifunction that much?

Question for those who fly more then me.... (1)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839557)

haven't wireless devices ("that send or receive signals") been banned in North American airspace for years now? I would have thought that DS-like devices would have fallen under that category.

Re:Question for those who fly more then me.... (1)

Farakin (1101889) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839647)

what about laptops with Bluetooth and wireless cards always on? I love Tech savvy Gov officials.....

Re:Question for those who fly more then me.... (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839881)

Every laptop I've seen has the ability to turn off wireless features. What braindead laptop have you found that doesn't?

Re:Question for those who fly more then me.... (1)

Lost Engineer (459920) | more than 6 years ago | (#20844747)

I was thinking along the same lines. Is there not way to turn off the wireless on a PSP/DS. Seems like it would save batteries.

Re:Question for those who fly more then me.... (1)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 6 years ago | (#20841267)

Last time I flew they said to turn wireless features off, but didnt outright ban the device.

The whole thing feels pretty silly to me, considering how much it costs to build an airplane you think they'd tack on an extra $15 worth of a faraday cage around important devices. For that matter, if it's really such a serious issue should the only thing stopping a ZOMG TERR'IST from taking down the plane with his noisy wireless interfering headphones be some small warning from the pilot before takeoff?

Hint: they aren't that dangerous.

Re:Question for those who fly more then me.... (1)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20841383)

I thought part of the point of a faraday cage was to not allow signals out as well. This would kind of nullify the point. Great, my radio isn't susceptible to interference anymore, but I can't hear shit on it either.

Re:Question for those who fly more then me.... (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 6 years ago | (#20844063)

The Faraday cage idea would only work if it surrounds the cabin interior (fellow reply pointed out that the "important devices" also need to transmit signals). The odds of any airline company or aircraft manufacturer carrying this out are worse than Cheney's office taking responsibility for anything.

Re:Question for those who fly more then me.... (4, Informative)

EtoilePB (1087031) | more than 6 years ago | (#20841305)

No. I just flew cross country (JFK/LAS) twice in the last four days. The speech says that anything with an internal transmitter must have that transmitter disabled but the devices themselves are allowed. In fact I was playing MarioKart on my DS Lite most of the way back from Vegas (and my boyfriend was playing Phoenix Wright on his).

Umm... (1)

apdyck (1010443) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839605)

Does this really come as a surprise to anyone? I mean, we've known for years that you shouldn't use wireless devices on planes, that's why they don't let you use cell phones while on the plane. This is just the logical extension. As we see an increase in the number of wireless devices available to the public, I am sure that we will see an increase in the number of devices that are banned on aircrafts. The only thing that bothers me is that I'm not allowed to carry more than one lighter on a plane...what if my lighter runs out? Then what will I do?

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20839761)

Um, no... you can't use cell phones in the air because you'll knock over all the cell towers you fly over...

Re:Umm... (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840097)

Why exactly shouldn't we use wireless devices? I can think of a lot of good reasons--like not wanting to hear assholes chatting it up the whole flight (if possible), but from what I've read, there's no technical reasons cellphones shouldn't be able to be used--if you know more than I do, feel free to correct me.

This article is kinda funny... http://edition.cnn.com/2007/US/09/25/memphis.air.snafu/ [cnn.com]

Modders to the Rescue! (3, Funny)

bigdady92 (635263) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840363)

If this 'wireless' thing is such a big issue and the people see that there is no wire, they'll ask you to stop using it.

Now, we being the ingenious lil monkies we are, can easily take a single black wire and electric tape it to the inside of the headphone and then to the device. It doesn't have to be molded or connected in any way shape or form to something useful, just a nice thick attachable cable that stewardess can see and identify and pass on by.

Stewardess: Excuse me papa san, you can't use that headphone on the plane
Me: Why not?
S: It's a wireless headset, it can crash the plane, eat babies, and summon Godzilla.
Me: It's not wireless, it's got a cable hooked into it, see , can't be wireless when it's got a wire!
S: Ok, carry on, enjoy air tokyo

Re:Umm... (1)

apdyck (1010443) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840483)

Well, I did a quick google search, and here's what I found [cmu.edu] . It would appear that cell phones and other wireless devices can cause issues with the GPS systems used in planes, which are critical for landing the aircraft. Now, I don't know about anyone else, but when I get on a plane I want to know that when I get off the plane, it won't be in a farmer's field or an ocean.

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20841111)

I believe the Mythbusters debunked this in one of their episodes.

Re:Umm... (1)

Moridin42 (219670) | more than 6 years ago | (#20841955)

If the pilots of aircraft you fly on can mistake a farmer's field or an ocean for an airport, I think you have issues bigger than interference with GPS and other nav systems.

Re:Umm... (1)

apdyck (1010443) | more than 6 years ago | (#20842223)

Fair enough, however can you deny that there is a certain amount of dependence on technology when operating a vehicle, be that a plane, or even a car? For example, if you're driving your car down the road, would you know if you were going too fast without the spedometer? Would you know your car was overheating without the temperature gague? Would you know you're running low on gas without the gas gauge?

Re:Umm... (1)

spiderbitendeath (577712) | more than 6 years ago | (#20846121)

Yes. Because when you roll it going around a curve, it's going to fast. If you see smoke pouring out of the hood, it's over heating. When the engine sputters and turns off, you're out of gas.

Re:Umm... (1)

Homr Zodyssey (905161) | more than 6 years ago | (#20843373)

Thats strange...the last few times I rode on a plane, they wouldn't let me past security with even one lighter. I forgot one in my backpack, and the guard found it and made me toss it out.

Re:Umm... (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 6 years ago | (#20843665)

I can see banning the use of the actual wireless communications features, but to ban the device outright even if the transmitter is turned off seems pretty stupid.

Re:Umm... (4, Informative)

toriver (11308) | more than 6 years ago | (#20843721)

That's a myth: Statistically there are usually some switched-on mobile phones on a plane, and those devices are anyway regulated for frequency bands other than the ones used by air traffic systems and the like.

The real reason is that when you are in the air, they will try and contact - at their maximum power because of the distances involved - the multiple cell network stations the plane passes as it flies at a high speed. This screws with the switching system.

So it's in the interest of the user to turn it off to preserve both battery power and their genetic material :) and in the interest of the cell phone companies to preserve network stability.

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20845147)

Nope. Cell phones are banned because aircraft move too quickly for the cell phone to roam well. It has nothing to do with the aircraft.

Also, the Boeing 787 was going to use entirely wireless communications on board. Every seat with internet access or music or a TV was going to be connected wirelessly. They chose not to do this because it would weigh more than using traditional wires. The point is, if wireless technology were really such a threat, why would Boeing consider using it exclusively?

I call myth on this whole issue.

Screw You Japanese Airlines (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20839625)

Next time I'll just WALK to Japan.

Change of heart? (1)

juletre (739996) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839655)

Didn't some japanese airlines give its customers DSs as entertainment on long flights a couple of years ago?

Re:Change of heart? (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839847)

q[Didn't some japanese airlines give its customers DSs as entertainment on long flights a couple of years ago?]q
Not sure about that, but I just had a stopover in Tokyo a couple days ago and it seemed like half the Japanese people in line for the plane were playing with a DS. It wasn't a JAL flight, but I figure their passengers are probably about the same. I think there's gonna be some real grumbling about this regulation, if not outright protest.

Inconsistency (1)

adwarf (1002867) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839657)

So Japan is banning headphones & handhelds while European carriers are adding mini cell towers and wifi to their planes?

Obligatory (1, Redundant)

Protonk (599901) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839659)

Penny Arcade! [penny-arcade.com]

How enforcable is this ban? (3, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839683)

the DS and PSP are obviously easier to ban because everyone knows what they look like and that they have wireless, but for most electronics, can you really tell just by taking a look at them whether or not they have wireless? For example, some mp3 players have wireless, some don't. Other than perhaps Zune(and who actually has one of those?) and the iPod touch(which could be an iPhone in airplane mode once it reaches Japan :P) I doubt very many flight attendants could tell you on the spot whether or not a given device is wireless or not. So if they cannot enforce the ban, why have it at all? You are just going to make people angry without adding any safety.

But this does make the environmentalist in me happy, maybe more people will take the train vs. a plane for domestic travel, and having lived in Europe, the US and Japan, I can say that the Japanese is by far the best. Though one thing I still cannot understand in both Europe and Japan is why are plane tickets more often than not cheaper than train tickets?

Re:How enforcable is this ban? (2, Informative)

Babbster (107076) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840633)

Here's my problem with this banning: It would be a trivial exercise to teach flight attendants how to tell if the wireless is active on a Nintendo DS, and I assume that the PSP has a similar activity light. 30 minutes (or less) of training for its employees and they could avoid angering their game-playing customers - that sounds like a pretty good deal.

Re:How enforcable is this ban? (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840799)

Though one thing I still cannot understand in both Europe and Japan is why are plane tickets more often than not cheaper than train tickets?

Duh, because they're cheaper to provide.

Re:How enforcable is this ban? (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#20841569)

Because if plane tickets were more expensive than the shinkansen then the airlines would be totally screwed on domestic travel. Even a regular JR line's not all that bad if you don't have to go across the entire country. If you need to get from Tokyo to Kagoshima, sure.. well soon enough I think even that might change.

I'll tell you, though, the wireless ban is BULL if it's for safety. I mean really, if they were at all unsure about how "safe" consumer wireless devices are, they wouldn't even let you take them on board. Airlines don't take chances when one screwup costs them insane amounts of money and PR.

In Japan you're not supposed to talk on a cell phone while on a train, and need it in manner mode. It's a way to promote courtesy. I don't see how this is all that much different, even if under the guise of "safety."

Re:How enforcable is this ban? (2, Interesting)

RailRide (737108) | more than 6 years ago | (#20843835)

But this does make the environmentalist in me happy, maybe more people will take the train vs. a plane for domestic travel
It seems they are:

"Airplanes are getting stuck in lots of traffic jams this summer, but Amtrak is on a roll. Ridership on the passenger rail system is up 6% so far this year, the biggest jump since the late 1970s. On the Acela Express, trains that run at higher speeds between Washington, New York and Boston, the number of riders has surged 20% over the past 10 months. That's enough new passengers to fill 2,000 Boeing 757 jets,"

--Dan Machalaba, Wall St Journal August 23, as quoted from http://www.nationalcorridors.org/df2/df08272007.shtml#Wall [nationalcorridors.org]

---PCJ

Intentional Transmitters (2, Interesting)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839791)

Any RF transmitter has the potential to cause interference with the aircraft's communication and navigation systems. Besides the intended signal, transmitters also produce spurious outputs and noise at other frequencies. This can be a real problem for systems that deal with weak signals like GPS receivers. It doesn't take much power to jam a GPS receiver. A plane full of wifi devices could create an interference nightmare.

Re:Intentional Transmitters (1)

NoseyNick (19946) | more than 6 years ago | (#20842787)

Speaking as a radio ham... Electric razors frequently emit FAR more RF spew than WiFi cards, orders of magnitude more, yet they're allegedly allowed.

Re:Intentional Transmitters (1)

spiderbitendeath (577712) | more than 6 years ago | (#20846157)

Speaking as a ham, thanks a lot. Now they know that, and I won't be able to use my secret razor based packet radio to connect to the internet.

Good thing I'm not flying to Japan (1)

jlf278 (1022347) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839813)

I took a flight to Greece from New York and my DS certainly saved the day. Coincidentally there was a guy across from me talking on his cell phone DURING the whole take-off and ascent. Now even that's definitely not allowed on a flight, but the attendants didn't seem to care. Well, it was just one guy, whereas on a Japanese flight about 70% of people probably carry a DS.

Inconsistent regulation (2, Insightful)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839887)

So, they ban wireless computer mice - but not laptops, which all have 802.11 wireless capabilities, and many of which also have bluetooth?


They should ban transmission of RF - so your laptop/cellphone is fine as long as you turn off the radio part. I'm not sure if the DS or PSP can disable it's wireless capability but if it can - then you should be able to play games while on board, just not interact with other users.


Amazing how people in government/management are all technically inept, isn't it?

Re:Inconsistent regulation (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840983)

I'm not sure if the DS or PSP can disable it's wireless capability but if it can - then you should be able to play games while on board, just not interact with other users.

The psp can - it has a switch on the left hand side - or if its the new one its on the top.

Re:Inconsistent regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20843397)

And the DS has an icon (always looks the same, regardless of game) to indicate a function that would activate the wireless antenna.

What happened yesterday? (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839929)

So, nobody in Japan ever thought to bring and use a DS or PSP on a plane before today? How come planes weren't dropping out of the sky left and right? All of a sudden they interfere with navigation systems?

Call me nutty, but, wouldn't it just make more sense to shield the instruments better? I mean, EM radiation and potential jamming isn't just something that exists only on the inside of the cabin.

Re:What happened yesterday? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20840139)

And what about 9/11? Each plane had virtually everyone on it phoning relatives like crazy. Did that affect navigation?

No, it seems to me the navigation was still pretty damn accurate.

Why the PSP? (2, Informative)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 6 years ago | (#20839969)

You can easily turn off the wireless with a switch.

There isn't a switch in the DS, but it's not on unless you use a game that turns it on.

Re:Why the PSP? (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840649)

All games on the DS I've seen have a standard icon to mark actions that will activate the wireless, it's probably required. They usually ask to confirm if you want to connect to WFC as well, not sure about local play though.

Re:Why the PSP? (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 6 years ago | (#20841609)

Local wireless is just going to another location in the game, at least for the ones I've played, and you have to explicitly download for single card play.

If they're banning these, where it requires explicit user actions to kick off the wireless, then you need to ban computers as well.

Animal Crossing: Wild World (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20841887)

All games on the DS I've seen have a standard icon to mark actions that will activate the wireless, it's probably required.
Animal Crossing: Wild World doesn't have the "wireless comms icon" seen at the lower right corner of the PictoChat and DS Download Play buttons on the main menu, but anything that uses wireless communication involves talking to Copper at the north gate. Stay away from Copper, and the wireless chipset doesn't turn on.

Re:Animal Crossing: Wild World (1)

DJ Rubbie (621940) | more than 6 years ago | (#20842701)

If the wireless feature of the NDS is turned on, the power light will go from solid green (or red if low battery) to blink, which I feel is a good indicator.

Granted, it will also blink when the lid is closed on standby, but I think the blink pattern is different.

Re:Why the PSP? (1)

Misfire (136548) | more than 6 years ago | (#20842101)

On the DS, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl both ping the Wi-Fi connection when starting up, to look for a nearby Wii running Pokemon Battle Revolution. There's no way to suppress this that I know about, but it's a pretty brief occurrence anyway.

Dilbert... (1)

Wolvie MkM (661535) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840505)

... I'm reminded of the comic where Dilbert convinces the PHB that he can fly the plane with Excel... Good times..

Irony (1)

zdude255 (1013257) | more than 6 years ago | (#20840733)

It's funny how cell phones are banned in planes, where they've never caused a serious wreck, but in the US are allowed in cars, where they've caused a bunch of wrecks.

It's a cell tower problem. (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20841971)

It's funny how cell phones are banned in planes, where they've never caused a serious wreck, but in the US are allowed in cars, where they've caused a bunch of wrecks.
Standard (GSM or UMTS) mobile phones are designed to use terrestrial antenna towers. In most cases, you'll get a much stronger signal from one or two of these towers at once, and your phone will remain connected to one tower for a long period of time. In an airliner, you're so far off the ground that your phone can see more towers, and you're traveling so fast (900 km/h for a Boeing 747) that several towers might come in and out of range per minute. This load on the roaming system is why the mobile network operators don't want you using mobile phones on an airliner flight.

Re:Irony (3, Informative)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20843609)

That's debatable. They are suspected of causing the crash of Crossair flight LX 498.

Glad I don't fly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20842841)

Every time I hear an article about airlines, it makes me even more glad that I refuse to fly, and that I haven't flown since 1999.

If I need to go overseas, I'll take a ship.

Learn to read (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20843889)

Boo hoo, the nasty Japs won't let you play on your flashy toy on their airplanes? Big fucking deal. Grow up and learn to read a fucking book already, like an adult.

Books kind of like games, only cheaper to buy, last longer, you don't have to worry much about losing them or breaking them, nobody's going to try to steal them, they don't have stupid music that really pisses off the people who have to sit next to you, oh, and they aren't banned on any airplanes.

Unless you try to read Salman Rushdie on a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight, in which case you deserve everything you get.
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