You see a fellow passenger with headphones in and phone on during take off. What do you do?

This happened to me on a flight yesterday, and I’m curious as to what others would have done.

After the safety briefing, the cabin crew are strapped in their seats for taxi and take off. I’m in an aisle seat, and across the aisle and one row in front of me, a bloke is sitting with his headphones in playing a game on his phone. He hid them on his lap when the cabin crew did their last check of the cabin, and then popped them back in as soon as the crew were in their seats.

I’ve noticed an increasing disregard for the “switch off all electronic items during take off and landing” if people can get away with it, but this was just so blatant. To make it worse, this was also in an overwing exit row, and if something had gone wrong during take off, this guy should have been alert to help with the opening of the door and evacuation.

I mentioned it quietly to the cabin crew in passing once we were airborne. The result was quite funny. Again, when they were doing their last check before landing, the guy hid his phone and headphones on his lap. As soon as he saw the cabin crew were in their seats, out come the headphones. And the member of cabin crew I spoke to was watching from the rear of the cabin, sprinted up the aisle, and told him to put them away. He complied all the way this time.

I found my reaction when he was doing it a strange one. I wanted to tap him on the shoulder and say “oi - take those out”. But no-one likes a confrontation in a confined space. But did I really believe he was endangering the flight with his behaviour? Possibly, given the emergency exit complication. Was I just annoyed at his blatant disregard for the rules which the rest of us were politely following? Probably.

What do you think?

Wouldn’t have bothered me in the least.

I’d hate to think he might have felt the need to finish that level before opening the emergency door after the plane touched down in the Potomac.

Cell phones causing trouble to electronics on the plane is a myth.

.Finding: BUSTED

Explanation: Never mind what the chatterbox in the seat next to you says about cell phones messing with plane navigation – those metallic birds are built airtight against foreign signals and operate on entirely different frequencies than cell phones.

So why all the fuss about phones? When you make a call at 10,000 feet, the signal bounces off multiple available cell towers, rather than one at a time. That means too many phone-happy jetsetters might clog up the networks on the ground, which is why the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) — not the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) — banned cell use on planes.

If you’re just dying to bust out your BlackBerry mid-flight, go international. Some airlines in Europe, the Middle East and Asia now allow cell phone use in planes, but don’t hold your breath for the FCC to follow suit.

As seen in “MythBusters: Cell Phones on Planes.”

This isn’t just about phones. Every airline I’ve flown on demands all electronic equipment to be switched off for take off and landing. I dutifully switch off my Kindle even though I’m 99.99% sure it is of no threat to the flight whatsoever.

If you think a rule is silly, does that give you the right to ignore it - especially when it is for (alleged) safety reasons?

I wouldn’t have cared in the least. Not my job to enforce arbitrary rules.

Me personally? No. Some other guy, breaking a stupid rule that will harm no one? I personally wouldn’t fuss over it. Nor do I feel any moral or ethical obligation to tell strangers to follow the rules. At least in this situation.

The issue with electronic devices during takeoff and landing isn’t necessarily that using an iPod is going to cause the plane to go down in flames. It is more like if the plane does go down in flames, then it is not going to be helpful for evacuating the plane if these guys over here are wearing their Bose headphones, those guys are trying to unbuckle their belt while fiddling with their iPad, and so on and so forth.

Personally, I’m inclined to think that the type of person who feels like the rules don’t apply to them and they just can’t be asked to go without their iPod for all of seven minutes is probably the same sort of jerk who stands in everyone’s way at the gate even though they are in boarding zone number 9, or who thinks that flight attendants are obligated to find a place for their oversized carryon luggage, or who thinks that they are entitled to cut in front of people at the check-in or security line because “Excuse me sir my flight is leaving in 45 minutes and I can’t wait any longer.”

These sort of people who think they are above the rules bother me greatly, but I know there’s no point in trying to engage with them. I feel great sympathy for the flight crew and others who are trying to do their jobs and must continually deal with The Most Important Person on the Plane.

In this particular case I have no problem with someone use their Kindle or texting or whatever they can get away with while we are taking off/landing/barrel rolling. The airline staff can enforce the policy and I have no problem with that either - they are just doing their job. But I wouldn’t tattle on another passenger for something so trivial.

I voted “Nothing because he was doing no harm”

And this is exactly my viewpoint. Even though I think the rule is arbitrary and silly I comply with it because I understand that it’s there mostly because the cost of testing to validate the very reasonable assumption that no harm will be caused would be excessive.

I appreciate the fact that they don’t make safety rules based on assumptions and I’m sure if any device manufacturer or airline wanted to step up and cover the costs they would do the testing and allow those devices. Because of this I follow the rules but I’m not even remotely concerned when someone else does not.

It bothers me when people break the rules and get away with it, but it also bothers me when people snitch. I can’t honestly say I believe that his actions contituted a risk for the flight, so I probably would have just fumed silently.

In this case, I would have done the same as the OP. If the person weren’t sitting in the emergency row, I would have ignored it.

Okay, I am once again going to expose my pop-culture disconnect.What does “finish that level” mean? Is it about video games?

ETA: Never mind. I reread the OP and see that games were mentioned, so I guess that’s what it means.

I’d do nothing. It’s an absolutely stupid rule…especially the whole ‘must be completely switched off’ thing. If having a few iPods on during takeoff would crash the plane, then it would likely also crash the plane when cruising…and miraculously they manage to stay aloft even though almost EVERYONE is using them in flight.

The major components are shielded from the cabin, and there’s absolutely no danger to the plane from having an iPod or phone on. Now, I’m all good with the no phone calls rule, mainly because it would be incessantly annoying to hear a bazillion cell phone conversations from everyone on the plane in a confined space like that.

Yeah - the OP isn’t about the guy being on the phone or texting, it’s about him sitting there playing a video game during take off. I think people are getting confused a bit, but this is more of an ‘in an emergency, he wasn’t ready to act’, and he was sitting in the emergency row.

We bother you cause at some level you know we’re right. Your rage is actually with the people who are enforcing the silly rule and making you do something that makes no sense.

I consider myself bound by my moral code. If I know why a rule is there, and I know the circumstances do not apply in my case, then I will ignore it.

So you pick and chose which laws and rules you want to obey? Glad I don’t live where you live!

I would do nothing for this reason. I’d follow the rules myself but I’m not narcing on anyone who isn’t doing any harm.

“Snitch?” Are we analyzing this issue by the rules of fourth-grade recess?

I’d stand in the aisle next to him and loudly query “Who do you think you are, Alec freakin’ Baldwin?”

Actually, I’d do nothing and wouldn’t give it a 2nd thought.