Airline passenger: ATA harassed, almost had me arrested for iPhone use in flight

“An ATA passenger says he was harassed by a flight attendant, and almost arrested by police, for using an iPhone to watch a movie while on a recent flight to Hawaii,” Aero-News Network reports.

“The passenger, who was only identified by his first name Casey, got a scare from ATA flight attendants and the police. The iPhone has an ‘airplane mode’ that disables cell phone, radio, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth signals, thus allowing you to watch movies… but that didn’t stop flight attendants from creating a scene,” Aero-News Network reports.

All of the gory details in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As usual, it’ll take awhile for people like flight attendants to catch up.


  1. i dont see what the big deal is even if it werent in airplane mode. the only reason you “cant” do it is because they dont want you yapping to your bff rose all the way from dallas to tokyo. its also inconvenient for the cell phone carriers because youre jumping from tower to tower every five seconds. but its not life or death and had more potential to ‘get ugly’ from her overreaction.

  2. @ Christopher: THERE ARE NO CELL TOWERS BETWEEN THE MAINLAND AND HAWAII. Besides I’ve never been able to get bars on my phone above 10,000 feet.

    And the whole you can’t use your cell phone on an airplane rule is bs, because airplanes don’t use the same spectrum as cell phones. And if I had a custom radio transmitter that would screw with an airplane, I certainly wouldn’t be sitting on the plane. And if I were a suicide bombing there are better low tech ways to screw with an airplane.

  3. “My Shuffle has nothing but music playback and I honor the request. The ground is awful hard when you hit it after dropping 20,000 ft. If the passenger wants to test something, she/he should hitch a ride with Chuck Yaeger.”

    Please read the article and realize why your comment makes no sense at all. The passenger in this article was using his IPhone in airplane mode in accordance with FAA regulations.

  4. Dear “Please turn etc.”,
    as the article clearly states, the iPhone user used his device in-flight, i.e. after take off, and switched it off before the landing. How many people switch off the wireless functions on their laptops? The iPhone user did. His iPhone was reduced to iPod functionality.
    It just seems to be one of those cases where the flight attendant got his panties (no pun intended) in a bunch over nothing.

  5. “And the whole you can’t use your cell phone on an airplane rule is bs, because airplanes don’t use the same spectrum as cell phones.”

    Agreed. The issue is because the non-interaction between cell phones and airline communications has not been thoroughly validated. Further cell phones come out so often that no manufacturer is willing to pay the money to prove it on EVERY phone. It’s just easier to force us to follow archaic rules.

  6. Took a flight to Vegas a couple months ago and was using my iPhone to watch a movie. While I didnt get harassed at all, I started wondering if I would since the product was so new and people in general tend to be quite a tad ignorant about things and just want to be some kind of hero instead of listening to reason.

  7. I just got back from flying the other day, what puzzles me is that when departing, as soon as the close the cabin door you have to turn the phone off, but when you land, as soon as you start to taxi to gate you can use them again. So only when you leave it interferes?
    And this wasn’t just one airline, but several different airlines.

  8. @ “Please turn off ALL, portable electronic devices” & “Tommy Boy”

    My father is a pilot and I talk to him all the time while he’s flying. There is really no reason that you couldnt. Youre not going to just fall from the sky.

  9. Christopher: There’s an easy answer to your question. When the cabin door is closed, the plane is generally going to start taxiing to take off. They don’t want phones on during take off, so its easier for them to just tell you to turn them off when taxiing begins, rather than telling you to turn them off just as the pilot starts to power up the engines for take off.

  10. Well, this is just the FAA being safe rather than sorry. While there is no proven incidents of cell phones interfering with flight, there is alway a slight chance, say 1 in a million, so they are cautious. I work around planes all they time and according to the pilots there should be no problem expect a lack of signal. So, the 10,000 feet rule is just a cautious FAA reducing risk.

  11. @ Christopher, Tommy Boy, the other Mark

    the reason cell phone use is not allowed on airplanes is not an issue with the airplane functionality, rather an issue with cell phone companies or the FCC (not really sure). When on the ground, wireless towers can effectively transmit to your phone at a range of about 30 miles (give or take), which is due to line of sight issues, etc. when you’re flying high above the earth, your line of sight becomes essentially unhampered, allowing a phone to effectively connect to multiple towers at the same time. Hypothetically, you could connect to every tower in a 3 state (or greater) radius, and if everyone in the air did that, the cellular networks would be swamped, and would not work. This is the real reason you cannot use your phone on a plane.

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