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Cellphone Use On Planes Coming Soon? 249

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the cleared-of-bee-murder-charges dept.
s31523 writes "A while back it was reported that cell phone use was given the OK on Emirate airlines. The BBC is now reporting European agencies back the use of cell phones in air. Plans have been developed to introduce technology that allow cell phone use on planes without any risk of interference. A spokesman for the UK regulator Ofcom said there were still many stages to pass through before final approval was given to the roll out of the plans, but the regulator said that the technology could be implemented next year."
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Cellphone Use On Planes Coming Soon?

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  • by Argon Sloth (655369) <`ac.retsamcm' `ta' `meleknif'> on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:01AM (#21036845)
    Eagerly awaiting the Motorola Snake and all the jokes that come with it.
  • by dreadlord76 (562584) on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:04AM (#21036875)
    In related news, Boeing and Airbus both announced the immediate availability of "Cone Of Silence" option on all airplanes.
  • by Cryacin (657549) on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:08AM (#21036905)
    Now we get loud mouthed cellphone jabbers AND 13 yr old SMS kiddies beeping away during the entire duration of Sydney and LA... I can forsee 15 hrs of absolute murderous psychopatic bliss.
    • Now we get loud mouthed cellphone jabbers AND 13 yr old SMS kiddies beeping away during the entire duration of Sydney and LA... I can forsee 15 hrs of absolute murderous psychopatic bliss.
      Sydney to LA leaves you fit for a padded cell without regard for the yakking.
    • by PayPaI (733999)
      Choose [shure.com] your [etymotic.com] cure [etymotic.com]
  • by Ydna (32354) * <andrew.sweger@net> on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:11AM (#21036939) Homepage
    Without interference, eh? Yet another annoyance to deal with while flying: listening to some yammerhead yacking into their phone for the whole flight. I'll show you interference. I'm gonna yank that phone out of your hand and flush it down the toilet. Or tell the crew that the passenger next to me is holding some electrical device next to their head and it has wires sticking out of it and strange lights flashing. And it might be ticking!
    • It's a shame that modern cell phones don't have external antennas anymore. You can't even garotte the dude with his own phone.

      Maybe force him or her to swallow it?

    • Speaking of airplane toilets, I hope everyone is looking forward to standing in line for an hour to use the loo while some jackass sits in there blabbing away on his/her phone.
  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:14AM (#21036957) Homepage Journal
    I refuse to fly until an airline offers a cell phone free flight. I don't want to sit in a tiny tin can for 4+ hours listening to some dork yapping about god knows what, when there is no possibility of getting away from him.

    If I can't "just walk away" then the only alternative is an ass kicking, and I assume if I punched someone out on a plane they would arrest me on the ground as a terrorists or something.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by l2718 (514756)

      Second that!

      It's bad enough on trains and busses. Also, I don't think airline staff (that is the flight attentands) will want to mediate the disputes between people loudly yapping on the phone and people who want to sleep quietly. I suspect that till now the airlines were rather thappy to say "the government says you can't use your phone" and not have to worry about this. In the future they'll have to come down on one side or the other.

      • by jamesh (87723) on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:45AM (#21037225)
        How about they designate an area where you are allowed to talk on your phone. I suggest on the wing, or on the ground.

        In terms of coming down on one side or the other, if the airline gets a share of the phone revenue, I'll give you one guess as to which side they'll come down on...

        What's really unfair though, is that if you bring a cell phone jammer onto an airoplane, _you_ would be the one to go to jail!
        • If airlines are even considering this it's because they're going to make money on the deal. All calls will be charged at a premium rate, with the airline taking a cut.

          This means the cabin crew will be told to not come down too hard on the morons, no matter how much they want to. The people making the decisions will be safe in their plush offices while the poor stewards are dealing with the air rage it causes.

          I think the best tactic will be to lean over and really obviously try to listen in on the conversati
          • Typical loud mouthed moron on BART (SF Bay Area subway):

            LMM: "WHERE YOU AT?"

            LMM: "I'M ON BART"

            LMM: "BART!"

            LMM: "I'M ON BART!"

            LMM: "YES .. NO ..."

            LMM: "I'M ON BART!"

            [Train goes in to tunnel]

            LMM: "HELLO?"

            LMM: "HELLO?"

            LMM: "HELLO?"

            [Repeat N times directly proportional to loudness and stupidness of conversation]
      • by bentcd (690786)

        (...) Also, I don't think airline staff (that is the flight attentands) will want to mediate the disputes between people loudly yapping on the phone and people who want to sleep quietly. I suspect that till now the airlines were rather thappy to say "the government says you can't use your phone" and not have to worry about this. In the future they'll have to come down on one side or the other.

        Surely, the airlines have been here before - this is hardly going to be a problem for them.

        "Will that be cellphone or non-cellphone, sir?"

  • mithra save us (Score:5, Insightful)

    by misanthrope101 (253915) on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:25AM (#21037059)
    I'd rather someone be allowed to surf the web next to me, goatse and all, than be allowed to gab on their cell. I even hate it that they can use their cells in the terminals. Why does anyone need to call to say "I'm on the ground now"? Obviously we can't rely on people to be considerate of others, but up till now we could rely on airline restrictions for a little peace. I vote we allow text messages, but no voice messages. Everyone gets to play the quiet game. Shut the hell up.
    • Why does anyone need to call to say "I'm on the ground now"?

      So that the person picking me up knows to leave home and start driving to the airport? Of if they're already on their way, they'll know to look for me outside the airport in a few minutes time, instead of paying for parking and waiting an indeterminate amount of time? Parking at airports is often extremely expensive and time-consuming.

      Given the ridiculously low number of US airports directly connected to mass transportation, I can think of count

      • Unfortunately typical telephone conversation:

        IdiotWithCellPhone (IWCF): "Hey Bob, we're taxiing out of the gate now, I'll call you when we get closer"
        You: $#*$%&
        IWCF: "Hey Bob, we just took off - yeah, isn't in neat that we can call on the plane. WHAT? YOU CAN'T HEAR ME. HOW'S THIS?"
        You: *&$(####^$
        IWCF: "HEY BOB, WE'RE OVER CHICAGO, I'LL CALL YOU LATER!"
        You: &$#^&^^#@@
        IWCF: "HEY BOB, WE'RE OVER ARIZONA, SHURE LOOKS DRY. WHAT? HOW'S THIS, CAN YOU HEAR ME? YEAH I SAW THAT GAME YESTER

    • I know everyone else has already said "so someone can pick you up," but I wanted to point out that in case you've missed them, many airports now have Cel Phone Lots a couple miles away from the terminal. Places specifically for people to sit in their cars (for free) and wait for the person they're picking up to call them and let them know the flight has landed.
  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:28AM (#21037077)
    Let me get this straight:

    You can bring on a cell phone, but not an iPod...

    You can bring on a lighter, but not a water bottle...

    You can wear a belt, but you have to remove your shoes...

    Are they just making the rules up randomly or something?
    • by mosch (204)
      since when are iPods banned?

      Also, many security stations make you remove your belt. (I've taken to preemptively putting mine in my laptop bag)
    • by zakezuke (229119)

      You can bring on a lighter, but not a water bottle...
      You shouldn't be able to bring a lighter on an aircraft. Safety concerns... however it is rather funny. In America I had to ditch my lighters but made sure to put them in my luggage. This was no problem. For the return flight I had to take these lighters out of my luggage and carry them on.

      And all the while, my carry on had a box cutter.
    • Re:Wait, what? (Score:4, Informative)

      by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:58AM (#21037333)
      Are they just making the rules up randomly or something?

      Pretty much. The idea is to make people feel safer because they are doing something. What that something is is less important, they might as well require passengers to do a tap dance or whatever amuses them the most
      • Re: Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday October 19, 2007 @02:57AM (#21037669)

        Are they just making the rules up randomly or something?
        Pretty much. The idea is to make people feel safer because they are doing something.
        Or less safe, if some important unconstitutional legislation is up for a vote.
      • by suv4x4 (956391)
        Pretty much. The idea is to make people feel safer because they are doing something. What that something is is less important, they might as well require passengers to do a tap dance or whatever amuses them the most

        Right... Well that'd make sense few years ago, but right now, all people in US I know are kinda fed up "feeling safe" if you know what I mean.
    • >Are they just making the rules up randomly or something?
      Pretty much. The people and press say 'Evil is out there! Do something!' so they make this stuff up and say 'We did something!'
    • by Ogive17 (691899)
      I take my iPod on flights all the time. I have taken water on the flight as well, I just had to purchase it after the security checkpoint. You're not suppose to be able to take a lighter.

      I'm not sure what list you're looking at... are those the rules in Europe?
  • The USA will come last on this issue [among the industrialized world], and will demand that all airlines that allow cellphone use on their aircraft while in flight disable their use before entering US space.

    This will be to "protect" and "ensure the highest possible safety regime", reign on US territory at all times; never mind that the southern border is wide open and so is the northern one to some extent.

    Sadly nothing or very little is being done about it.

    • by pryonic (938155)
      I'm not so sure about this. I've flown both in Europe and the US and the attitude of Europe is much more strict with regards to mobile phones. You usually have to turn off your phone as you get on the plane, and there's usually an announcement after landing stating "Please remain seated until the plane arrives at the gate and do not turn on your phone until well inside the terminal building". Also most European airlines will not let you operate a mobile during the flight even in flight mode.

      Contrast this
      • by mobby_6kl (668092)
        I've been on several flights within Europe this year, and I don't recall anyone being asked to turn off their phones until after the plane has been taxiing for a while. Most flight attendants would probably indeed panic if they saw a phone which looked like it's turned on during the flight, as they're not familiar with the "flight mode". Hell, I haven't seen this feature in a phone, but then I'm still using a T68i.
  • Think about it. People on long haul flights in tiny uncomfortable seats are usually tense, tired and easily pissed off. Having some jerk talking on the phone in the next seat for hours might well be the final straw! That means someone will FINALLY get killed for talking loudly on the cellphone.

    Fox News will have a around the clock news coverage of the incident, and therefore all the idiots out there that don't realize it yet will finally hear the news that it is actually rude to make unwilling bystanders

  • My understanding (of old) is that the primary reason for the ban was not that interference was inevitable, but that not all the myriad makes and models of phones could be adequately tested.

    Maybe they've been doing tests and not finding anything.

    The "pico cell" concept in the FA is interesting - do 2G cellphones normally adjust power output to cell distance / signal strength? Otherwise, the signals from the cells are just as much an issue as before.
    • by Andy Dodd (701)
      I don't know about 2G GSM, but 2G CDMA (aka Qualcomm cdmaOne) is dependent on continuous transmit power output control for handsets to solve the near/far problem.
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      My understanding (of old) is that the primary reason for the ban was not that interference was inevitable, but that not all the myriad makes and models of phones could be adequately tested.

      It's worse than that.

      Take the cross product of the number of phones and the number of aircraft with all of their sub-designations, and that's the size of the problem.

      Take an aircraft like the 747 which has almost 40 years of production life: various generations, various changes to components over time, various in flight e

  • Earplugs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by feepness (543479) on Friday October 19, 2007 @02:02AM (#21037345) Homepage
    Pssst... you can wear them the entire time you're in the airport: http://www.earplugsonline.com/ [earplugsonline.com]

    Those earplugs + noise canceling headphones + a sleeping pill if you want = Transoceanic bliss.

    Throw in a PSP or DS and a movie or two and you are good to go. Just don't forget to bring some spare batteries.
  • likely mobile devices will never be allowed on commercial flights on american airlines, as the government, and therefore the people's will, here has little sway over business practices. airlines dont want you to have portable electronic devices, so you aren't gonna get them. at least not overtly.

    the question then is why, which people seem to think they know. it is most definitely not because they interfere with the flight systems. think about how many hundreds of people are on their cellphone or laptop i
  • 9/11 Anyone? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by anarking (34854) on Friday October 19, 2007 @02:50AM (#21037635) Homepage
    Gee... I thought we could already make crystal clear calls from 25,000ft up on cell phones based on the calls from supposed passengers on 9/11!

    Oh wait... someone actually tested that with cell phones and none worked at all...

    Funny isn't it how they were all made through Verizon and how chummy Verizon has been with DHS and the other agencies. hmmmmmm...
  • Well, thanks to the terrorists, these cell phone users will be safe from a little old lady with a hammer [slashdot.org]!
  • without any risk of interference.

    That's "no risk of electromagnetic interference". There is a significant risk of pugilistic interference.
  • I don't care if they allow cell phones on planes that won't be here for 12 hours.
  • As Web 2.0 Journal this morning [web2journal.com] puts it, "One thing is an iPhone, but a skiPhone might just be the death-knell for (relative) silence on airplanes."
  • Like most people here, I too dread the thought of some 15 year old or wannabe CEO type blabbing on the phone next to me for 15 hours.

    However, I think it's unlikely to be a problem. Why? Because the airline will own the microcell to which you are connnecting and you will be 'roaming' when you use it. Translation: They get to charge whatever they want. How does five bucks a minute for calls sent or received sound?

    Anyone who will be able to afford to use the service for anything more than SMS is probably flyin
  • ....the super-expensive satellite one's, for long-haul at least. Why do we need cellphones too?

    I mean, if you can get off the phone for 2 hours for short-haul trip then you have issues, and if you need to make an real urgent call on long-haul, it's possible while anything more than a minimum chat is prohibitively expensive for most. What's wrong with that I ask you?
  • Nothing worse than trying to get some rest on a flight and having an idiot next to you talking on the phone all the way.
  • Okay, here's what I don't get about Slashdot's tagging system. Supposedly it takes the most frequently-tagged values and puts them on the story. All well and good, but did lots of people really randomly type shootpeoplethatshoutintotheirphone into the tagging system?? It seems more likely that someone noticed that tag, thought it was funny, and promoted it.

    What is the real criteria for the tags to be used?
    • by Shados (741919)
      My guess is that very few people normally type the exact same tags... so all it takes, is, let say, 250 bored students in a very large lecture room talking to each other before class starts and bang!
  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Friday October 19, 2007 @09:24AM (#21040255) Homepage

    That the "freedom-loving" slashdotters are all — posters and moderators — claiming to be happy, that the big lie [economist.com] of "cell phones may interfere with safety equipment on board" is being used to stop their fellow passengers from using their cell phones on the planes.

    Evidently, the ends justify the means... Lying to millions of travelers to prevent a tiny minority of them from being inconsiderate, while at the same time offering them an option to pay $6/minute for the same sort of inconsideration...

    • by Shados (741919)

      Lying to millions of travelers to prevent a tiny minority of them from being inconsiderate
      A tiny minority? You have to be kidding, right?
      • by mi (197448)

        A tiny minority? You have to be kidding, right?

        Well, if it is, in fact, a majority, or even a substantial minority, who wish to be able to use their phones, but can not due to the undisputed lie, then the slashdotters' celebration of the lie is even worse...

  • Why is everyone making such a big deal about this? It's pretty well-established that cell phones will not work on flights once the flight goes above about 5,000 feet. My own experiments showed my cell phone stopped working about 2,000 feet up. My roommate a few months ago was a private pilot, and we lived in/flew over San Diego where there's a cell tower for every 50 sq. feet of ground cover. Other projects [physics911.net] have yielded similar results to my own, and are far more scientific to boot. Couple this evidenc
    • It can easily work.

      They'll put a "cell" inside the 'plane and beam it to ground via a special link...

  • by peter303 (12292) on Friday October 19, 2007 @10:38AM (#21041437)
    Airlines have found they not reached the limits of annoying passengers yet. Hobbit-size seats, stuffy air, trip-long fasting, long bathroom lines were not enough. Bring on the cell phones!
  • To all of you who worry about your neighbor yakking away on their cell phone through a flight, chill out! Many planes today already have seat-back phones. Have you ever seen anyone use them? When you're in the air, you'll be connected to the plane's own cell, with a satellite uplink. Surely they'll charge roaming fees just as exorbitant as what the seat-back phones cost today.

    Just hope that you don't accidentally roam onto their network while the plane is on the ground!

  • I really don't see the problem with allowing cell phones to be used on intercontinental flights over the ocean. And since that is generally international territory, who's going to stop airlines from allowing it? Just a slight reception problem, but who cares?

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