Cell phones on airplanes (Airplane Mode)

My cell phone has the option of turning off all wireless capabilities in an option they call airplane mode. I want to use my phone to listen to music when I am flying this holiday season but I am afraid that my fellow passengers or flight attendants might freak out if they see me using a cell phone at 35,000 feet.

Has any one used a cell phone, in airplane mode, while on a flight and was asked to shut it off?

No, they understand about airplane mode and won’t hassle you.

I would mention it to the stewarde…err…flight attendant, though. There are some that do not behave as expected.

Didn’t something like that happen to some movie star recently? He was playing a game on his phone so they threw him off the plane. (Then he went on SNL to mock their ignorance.)

My experience has been that if it is any kind of smart phone or blackberry the flight attendants are aware they have airplane mode. They may or may not ask if it is in airplane mode when they see you using it, but are quite understanding.

Alec Baldwin had it on and fully functioning, playing Words With Friends online, during the “please turn off your electronics and listen to the flight attendants” part. There are parts of flights before takeoff and landing where they want everything turned off and stowed. (Per an “Ask the Pilot” column on Salon.com, that’s also done so you listen to instructions and so that if shit goes wrong, there aren’t glass-and-metal projectiles flying around the cabin.)

That being said, I have an iPhone and have never been confronted about using it during electronics-OK times on planes, either for music or for playing (non-online) games.

On flights these days, they will ask you to turn the cell phone and other electronic devices completely off during takeoff and landing. Once you are in flight, they will allow certain electronics, and the flight attendants will direct you to a list they have somewhere. If you have a cell phone you are permitted to use it then in airplane mode, so you can play games or listen to music.

Most folks are aware of this these days, and on many flights the flight attendants will actually spell it out fairly clearly. They will tell you to put the phone in airplane mode and to turn off the wifi on your laptops.

I have noticed that the flight attendants are much less forgiving and much more forceful if you try to pull an Alec Baldwin and use a phone after they say to turn it off. It used to be they were fairly polite about it. Now you get maybe one polite warning and then they start in with the downright unpleasant YOU WILL TURN THIS OFF NOW OR ELSE attitude.

Nowadays about 1/2 the passenger cabin is sitting there with earbuds in while enroute. Between tablets, smartphones, laptops, and music players, very few folks *aren’t *using a battery-powered gizmo in cruise.

I last flew last week. On both legs of the flight, we were asked to turn phones off completely before takeoff, and then informed once we reached altitude that we were then permitted to turn our phones back on in Airplane Mode.

So I’d say you will have no problems whatsoever.

Flight crew have been using the law to deal with unruly passengers rather than spending time trying to reason with them.

Disobeying instructions from a member of the flight crew is a federal offense (14 C.F.R. Sec. 121.580 which states that “No person may assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crewmember in the performance of the crewmember’s duties aboard an aircraft being operated.”… the crewmember’s duties include ensuring that phones are turned off and stowed, that the seatbacks are upright, etc).

It’s easier to just cut to the chase and kick the passenger off the plane/have him or her arrested once at the destination (and, in extreme cases, make an unscheduled landing to hand them over to the cops) than it is to try and be polite and continue to take the abuse from self-entitled asshole passengers.

Back in 2002, on an 8.5 hour Toronto-Budapest flight, the stewardess told me I wasn’t allowed to play my discman, because all radios were strictly forbidden. My mother, whose native language is Hungarian, explained to her that it was a CD player, and she refused to change her decision.

It was a very long, BORING ass flight. I watched Kate and Leopold. TWICE. The man next to me decided to take his shoes off. He needed odor eaters. BAD.

Since then, however, I’ve never been hassled about an iPod or cellphone provided you turn it on airplane mode. People I know just turn the cellband off, and put the phone’s lock screen on. They don’t ACTUALLY shut the phone off.

That Alec Baldwin story was hilarious. I bought Words with Friends just to see what all the fuss was about. Pretty good Scrabble clone!