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Old Jun 26, 12, 6:44 am   #1
djs
 
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Virgin Atlantic announces plan to allow phones at 35,000-feet

Virgin announces plan to allow phones at 35,000 feet

This should make some people happy, others likely upset and likely others upset because they are limiting use to 10 people at a time. Now we all know there is tons of misinformation out there about phone use and it's effect on navigation/safety (or perhaps it's true and some here just choose to ignore it or not believe it). In any event, I am wondering if this particular part of the article is true or misinformation:

Additionally, the rule about not being allowed to use your phone during takeoff and landing stays in tact, and cell phones must also be turned off within a 250-mile radius of US airspace because of American laws.
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Old Jun 26, 12, 7:01 am   #2
 
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Originally Posted by djs View Post
Now we all know there is tons of misinformation out there about phone use and it's effect on navigation/safety (or perhaps it's true and some here just choose to ignore it or not believe it).

and cell phones must also be turned off within a 250-mile radius of US airspace because of American laws.[/i]
This is slightly OT but do people really think that an airline would put the lives of hundreds of innocent people in the hands of some idiot who was too stupid to turn off their phone and, if so, why aren't there planes dropping out of the sky regularly as a result.

Regarding the use of mobile/cellular phones in US airspace, this is from the FAA web site (http://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/...?newsid=6275):

"Since 1991, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has banned the inflight use of 800 MHz cell phones because of potential interference with ground networks. This ban requires that in addition to the testing the FAA requires to show non-interference to the airplane systems, an airline would also need to apply for an exemption to the FCC rule before it could allow cell phone use inflight. The FCC proposed modifying this ban in 2004, but subsequently withdrew the proposal based on the comments it received.

Even if the FCC ever rescinds its ban, FAA regulations would still apply."
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Old Jun 26, 12, 7:34 am   #3
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I agree they aren't going to do something to put customers/planes at undue risk.

My bigger question here has to do with 250 miles within US Airspace; is it a law? Rule? Regulation? Suggestion?....etc.
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Old Jun 26, 12, 7:42 am   #4
 
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I agree they aren't going to do something to put customers/planes at undue risk.

My bigger question here has to do with 250 miles within US Airspace; is it a law? Rule? Regulation? Suggestion?....etc.
Short answer: I don't know.

However, the use OVER US airspace is covered in the exerpt I quoted. I'd say the 250 mile thing is probably a Virgin rule.
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Old Jun 26, 12, 7:50 am   #5
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its ok w/me only if they put in a couple of sound proof phone booths for the calls......the shouting would have rto be much louder at 35k ft!....its bad enough in the terminal....
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Old Jun 26, 12, 8:31 am   #6
 
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Ugh. That's one airline I won't be flying.
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Old Jun 26, 12, 10:19 am   #7
 
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This is an exclusive luxury service which is only available to 10 people at a time due to lower bandwidth limit at such great height. It also comes at a price. In-flight calls are expected to set phone users back GBP 1 a minute for making calls and 20p for sending text messages.
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Old Jun 26, 12, 10:30 am   #8
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At a buck fifty a minute or whatever they end up costing, I don't see many more than ten people even trying to use it at the same time, and certainly not for much more than a quick "running a half hour late, see you at the gate" message.
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Old Jun 26, 12, 11:20 am   #9
 
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Ugh. That's one airline I won't be flying.
+1! Never have, and now, never will. Flight is the one of the last places you can actually escape cell phones.
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Old Jun 26, 12, 11:54 am   #10
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I have a hard time believing that people actually would never fly Virgin because of this. For now, they are offering this service on 1 route where the plane carries just over 300 people; and only 10 at a time can use the service. This is just me, but I think the chances of me being disturbed by two passengers having a loud conversation with each other is much higher than being disturbed by a passenger on their phone.

I often wonder if the real reason we get upset when people are on their cell phone (wherever it may be) is that we are nosey and can only hear one side of the conversation.
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Old Jun 26, 12, 12:05 pm   #11
 
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Qantas and a few others explored the idea but canned it for a variety or reasons including the "customer annoyance" factor. IE somebody next to you loudly using their phone.

I've never flown any of the Virgin airlines but VA has some HOT(!!) FAs and that might make up for the phone thing....
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Old Jun 26, 12, 12:44 pm   #12
 
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Virgin announces plan to allow phones at 35,000-feet

FlyingRabbit announces plan to not fly Virgin ever again
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Old Jun 26, 12, 2:44 pm   #13
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Qantas and a few others explored the idea but canned it for a variety or reasons including the "customer annoyance" factor.
And a number of others are running it today quite successfully.
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Old Jun 26, 12, 4:20 pm   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djs View Post
I agree they aren't going to do something to put customers/planes at undue risk.

My bigger question here has to do with 250 miles within US Airspace; is it a law? Rule? Regulation? Suggestion?....etc.
1 - As noted, it's an FCC regulation, preventing overload of the cellular system due to thousand of phones handing off from cell to cell every few seconds. So no, it's not and never has been defined as a customer/plane risk.

2 - I suspect it has to do with a 200 mile exclusive economic zone defined in the UNCLOS (Law of the Sea), in which the FCC regulation would theoretically apply. 50 miles is probably a safety margin.
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Old Jun 26, 12, 6:57 pm   #15
 
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Originally Posted by djs View Post
I have a hard time believing that people actually would never fly Virgin because of this. For now, they are offering this service on 1 route where the plane carries just over 300 people; and only 10 at a time can use the service. This is just me, but I think the chances of me being disturbed by two passengers having a loud conversation with each other is much higher than being disturbed by a passenger on their phone.

I often wonder if the real reason we get upset when people are on their cell phone (wherever it may be) is that we are nosey and can only hear one side of the conversation.
You can believe it, a plane is one place to escape cell phone chatter. If someone starts talking on a cell phone beside me I already have a plan in place to make as much chatter but louder than them the entire time they are on the phone. If they are talking I will match them word for word, tone for tone and volume for volume. They are gonna hate me....and probably think I am crazy.

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FlyingRabbit announces plan to not fly Virgin ever again
+ 100
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