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Old Jul 6, 08, 8:44 am   #1
 
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Devices in Airplane Mode...

Has anyone had trouble being allowed to use electronic devices such as smartphones and PDAs on UA flights because you were unable to convince FAs that the device's ability to send and receive information was turned off?

In my experience, FAs seem to be quite knowledgeable as to how to check LAPTOPS to make sure the WiFi is turned off, and indeed I am only asked to show my WiFi settings about half the time I fly. So no problems there.

Although I do not yet own a handheld device that has an airplane mode (I plan to snatch up the new iPhone in a few weeks), I have heard horror stories about FAs who either do not believe that airplane mode exists, and refuse to even look at the settings, or DO believe that a passenger's device is no longer emitting radio waves through the cellular radio or WiFi, but continue to insist that it not be used on the flight.

Has anyone here had an experience like that? As some of you may have read on my last post http://flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=841395, I am going to DEN for a couple of days, and it will likely be my first flight with an iPhone. I would be very angry if I were told to put it away despite the fact that in airplane mode, it's basically just an iPod!

Please share any stories relevant to this issue, and any advice on what to say to FAs who might tell me to put my phone away.
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Old Jul 6, 08, 8:52 am   #2
 
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never had any problems. Plus I think FAs are used to BlackBerrys, iPhones, laptops, etc. because such a lot of people are using them these days.
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Old Jul 6, 08, 8:55 am   #3
 
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That was the case a few years back, when the devices were uncommon and new, but I haven't had any problems in recent years.
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Old Jul 6, 08, 9:05 am   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baroqueboy View Post
In my experience, FAs seem to be quite knowledgeable as to how to check LAPTOPS to make sure the WiFi is turned off, and indeed I am only asked to show my WiFi settings about half the time I fly. So no problems there.
Really? Wow. I use my laptop on about 50% of my segments and I have never been asked about the WiFi setting on it. Though I probably should be asked, as I never bother to disable it. I know; I'm a bad person.
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Old Jul 6, 08, 9:06 am   #5
 
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Likewise, never been asked. I always have my laptop with me.
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Old Jul 6, 08, 9:12 am   #6
 
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Not on UA but in other airlines (in China in particular) I've encountered FAs who insist I turn off my phone (laptops are never a proble) even in airplane mode. Sometimes they go as far to explicitly mention in the announcements that even phones with a airplane mode are prohibited.
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Old Jul 6, 08, 9:17 am   #7
 
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I sometimes forget to turn my laptop wi-fi off, but am better now than I used to be. I have never seen a FA verify laptop wi-fi settings... and I do >1K domestic every year....
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Old Jul 6, 08, 9:25 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baroqueboy View Post
..In my experience, FAs seem to be quite knowledgeable as to how to check LAPTOPS to make sure the WiFi is turned off, and indeed I am only asked to show my WiFi settings about half the time I fly. So no problems there..
Talking solely about United: I use my laptop on 100% of my UA segments and not once was asked to verify that the WiFi or the Bluetooth was off for that matter. Which honestly surprises me as I pile up Babylonian constructions on my tray, plugging the computer to the outlet and then charging iPod, camera, camcorder from it while having external disk and GPS plugged into it.


The GPS alone once has drawn critique but never when connected to the computer ...

I had issues aboard LH regarding the bluetooth and twice because I used a wireless mouse (I know, I know), once because of noise canceling headphones. But most of all when I tried to load a CD or DVD into my drive . They were quite tough on these matters.
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Old Jul 6, 08, 9:33 am   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamjets View Post
I sometimes forget to turn my laptop wi-fi off, but am better now than I used to be. I have never seen a FA verify laptop wi-fi settings... and I do >1K domestic every year....
Assuming no power outlets at your seat...better to disable the Wifi every time for the sole reason that it's a huge suck on the battery (at least on my Lenovo ThinkPad).
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Old Jul 6, 08, 5:24 pm   #10
 
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was on a mesa operated us airways express flight today (united codeshare) and the FA announced that we weren't able to use devices even in "airplane mode"

love fa's who make up arbitrary rules.
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Old Jul 6, 08, 5:35 pm   #11
 
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Never been a problem for me. (Palm Treo 700p)
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Old Jul 6, 08, 6:02 pm   #12
 
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It happend to me once where the FA made a big deal about shutting my phone off (it was off). It was a UX flight and there was not much time left in the flight so capitulated and put it in my pocket (although it was just as "off" as it had been) rather than try and explain the situation to the FA.
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Old Jul 6, 08, 6:04 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggums View Post
Likewise, never been asked. I always have my laptop with me.
Never been asked either. I always carry a laptop, 2 3G cell phones and a 3G wireless modem. Have used all during pre-board, and use them with "wi fi / radio / etc disabled" without any issues.

I recall the "early days" of 2-way alphanum pagers (~1997), including the early RIM devices. Many FAs were not aware that these devices had transmit capabilities. We used to use them all the time in-flight - no real issues
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Old Jul 6, 08, 6:12 pm   #14
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Since this is not only a UA-related topc, I am going to send this to Travel Technology so thers can chime in.

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Last edited by Ocn Vw 1K; Jul 6, 08 at 9:23 pm. Reason: Clarify destination forum
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Old Jul 7, 08, 5:17 am   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baroqueboy View Post
Has anyone had trouble being allowed to use electronic devices such as smartphones and PDAs on UA flights because you were unable to convince FAs that the device's ability to send and receive information was turned off?

In my experience, FAs seem to be quite knowledgeable as to how to check LAPTOPS to make sure the WiFi is turned off, and indeed I am only asked to show my WiFi settings about half the time I fly. So no problems there.

Although I do not yet own a handheld device that has an airplane mode (I plan to snatch up the new iPhone in a few weeks), I have heard horror stories about FAs who either do not believe that airplane mode exists, and refuse to even look at the settings, or DO believe that a passenger's device is no longer emitting radio waves through the cellular radio or WiFi, but continue to insist that it not be used on the flight.

Has anyone here had an experience like that? As some of you may have read on my last post http://flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=841395, I am going to DEN for a couple of days, and it will likely be my first flight with an iPhone. I would be very angry if I were told to put it away despite the fact that in airplane mode, it's basically just an iPod!

Please share any stories relevant to this issue, and any advice on what to say to FAs who might tell me to put my phone away.
Only once, on a United Express flight last year from IAD-LGA (or JFK, forget which). What to say? Just turn it off. If they dont know, you arent going to educate them. They had been told, or thought that they had been told, that it was an FAA rule. Your arent going to win that argument on the plane, even if you are right. Although after I turned mine off I did tell them that I flew a lot and they were wrong about it being an FAA rule and they should check with their training people. She told me that the previous week another passenger told her the same thing when she made him turn his off, and he was a mainline pilot. I bit my tongue concerning the fact that there might be a clue buried there. If was all very pleasant and professional, but I wasnt winning the argument. The instance with the pilot was a clue for me that I did get concerning that part of the interaction. She said she would check with people at her airline. I wonder if one or more of the UAX carriers are actually mistraining people about this?
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