Consumerist was given a disturbing story by a reader who flew ATA to Hawaii and was accosted by an over-zealous flight attendant who didn't understand the concept of "Airplane Mode" on the iPhone, despite the fact that similar features have been available in phones and other gadgets for years.
Now some of you will say "Why didn't this guy just turn off his iPhone and stop causing problems?" There's a time and a place for every battle, sure, but check out what a cock this attendant was after the flight landed, when they tried to have the customer arrested.
Then the police take me off the flight and to a waiting area. I explain everything that happened, they go and talk to the male flight attendant. I see him waving his arms and looking very angry and animated. Why is he so hell bent on getting me in trouble ? So then the police come back over to me and explain that he said this particular plane is not shielded for ANY electronic equipment at all, so even a phone in airplane mode could cause problems.
OK, so why didn't he tell me that at all in flight, all he said was i was breaking FAA rules, and also why was everyone else allowed to use their laptops, mp3 players, etc ?? The police officer looked confused, and said he would be right back. He talked to the guy again and then came back and said that the airplane is not shielded for ONLY phones in airplane mode.
Come on, really ? he has changed his story 3 times, and all he said in flight was FAA this and FAA that, nothing about this specific plane. The police sorta laughed and said wait one second, they went and talked to him, he got really upset and left. Then they came back to me and said I was free to go.
It's frivolous, vindictive bullshit and ATA should issue the guy a public apology. It's straight-up ignorance on the part of the flight attendants. I'm sure it's a frustrating job to be a flight attendant these days since every single passenger is full of loathing for the entire airline industry, but they can't be bothered to learn about airplane mode after at least a decade of it entering common use? Or, god forbid, trust that the passenger might know what he's talking about? I guarantee that at least half the laptops open and used on those planes are spitting out tons of Wi-Fi and other radio signals.