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Flyer Leaves AA Flight Over Phone

Passenger deplaned from flight after ignoring orders to turn off cellular device.

An American Airlines passenger decided that their phone was more important than their destination, resulting in their removal from an outbound flight. Chicago NBC affiliate WMAQ-TV reports that the passenger decided not to continue their flight, resulting in a short delay on the flight out of Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD).

The unidentified passenger was aboard American Airlines Flight 168 on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, departing for Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). After the cabin doors closed and the aircraft pushed back, flight attendants reminded the passenger to turn off their phone prior to departure. When the flyer refused, the aircraft returned to the gate.

Under Federal Aviation Administration rules, passengers are allowed to use small, personal electronics, such as a cell phone or tablet computer, during all phases of flight. However, those devices must be put in “airplane mode,” which turns antennas off. Despite consideration earlier this year to allow phone calls on flights, expanded use was ultimately grounded in favor of passenger comfort.

Ultimately, the passenger aboard AA168 decided that their phone activity was more important and deplaned when the aircraft returned to the gate. The flight was allowed to continue to RDU without further delay or incident.

Use of cell phones on airplanes continues to be a contentious issue among flyers. Earlier in 2017, rap artist Offset was removed from his American flight after he refused to end his phone call prior to departure. In 2015, a passenger lashed out at other flyers and police over using a cell phone after the cabin door closed.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
RickyC66 June 7, 2017

Found some explanations on The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage: The indefinite pronouns, such as anyone, are usually plural in implication and share a lack of sexual identification with they, their, and them. Hence "anyone in their senses." The traditional solution has been the use of he, his, him, himself, the masculine third person singular. The use of they, their, and them as singular relative pronouns of indetermine gender has long being perfectly well established, even in formal contexts. You have a choice: you can use the plural pronouns when they seem natural and you can use the singular pronouns when they seem natural. One way of avoiding generic pronouns is revising [the sentence] to avoid the pronoun altogether. There's more. Nevertheless, part of my commentary was the excessive use of "their" to refer to one person in such a short article, especially in the first sentence, which may cause confusion. Sorry to divert attention to this.

BJM May 30, 2017

Per Merriam-Webster 2 : his or her : his, her, its —used with an indefinite third person singular antecedent Ex. anyone in their senses — W. H. Auden If it's good enough for Auden and Merriam-Webster. . .

sdsearch May 27, 2017

When the gender of a person is unknown, that IS the proper grammar??? The English language was not designed for that kind of uncertainty!

FlyingNone May 27, 2017

I guess it's a safe bet that the passenger was then granted a seat on the next available flight (with no worries). This is the person who needs the reservation cancelled and a quick discussion about buying a new ticket on AA or any other airline if they want to go to RDU today.

RickyC66 May 26, 2017

Interesting article but the use and abuse of "their" to refer to the unidentified passenger made me cringe; there are ways to handle this with proper grammar. Thanks.