Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > British Airways | Executive Club
Reload this Page >

Humiliated businesswoman frog-marched off British Airways flight in row over mobile

Humiliated businesswoman frog-marched off British Airways flight in row over mobile

Old Oct 13, 09, 8:36 pm
  #16  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 6,014
Um... "we" can't actually send a man to the moon any more... Can't speak for the Russians but the USA no longer has a launch vehicle powerful enough..... the Saturn V was the last AFAIK....

My theory on the electronics question is that there are only a few devices that can actually cause problems... yet to try to allow some and not others would be very difficult... easier and more effective to impose a blanket restriction...
trooper is offline  
Old Oct 13, 09, 11:51 pm
  #17  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: UK
Programs: Shiny ones
Posts: 288
It's not the electronics

AFAIK the restriction on electronic devices is no longer because they 'interfere with the aircraft systems' - it's because using a phone (or an ipod etc for that matter) stops you hearing safety instructions. Which is why we're not supposed to be wearing headphones at those times either...
TechnoOenology is offline  
Old Oct 14, 09, 12:24 am
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: UK
Programs: BA EC Gold
Posts: 9,235
Originally Posted by TechnoOenology View Post
AFAIK the restriction on electronic devices is no longer because they 'interfere with the aircraft systems' - it's because using a phone (or an ipod etc for that matter) stops you hearing safety instructions. Which is why we're not supposed to be wearing headphones at those times either...
By that logic, there should be no problem in using one's BlackBerry whilst still taxiing, right?
ajax is offline  
Old Oct 14, 09, 12:59 am
  #19  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Korea
Programs: krisflyer, spg, priority club, Hyatt Plat,
Posts: 77
Originally Posted by ajax View Post
By that logic, there should be no problem in using one's BlackBerry whilst still taxiing, right?
Originally Posted by TechnoOenology View Post
AFAIK the restriction on electronic devices is no longer because they 'interfere with the aircraft systems' - it's because using a phone (or an ipod etc for that matter) stops you hearing safety instructions. Which is why we're not supposed to be wearing headphones at those times either...
Yes, the aircraft communications equipment is adequately shielded to prevent cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices from causing interference. However there is no absolute certainty, there is no 100% guarantee from the company that installed the shielding that all RF signals will not cause interference.
Since take off and landing are the most crucial part of the flight the only way to guarantee that RF interference with the aircraft comms system is minimised, is to request that all electronic devices are turned off.
The reason it's all devices is because FAs don't have the time to check the technical specs of everyones mp3 player, game boy, phone etc... to see whether or not it would cause interference.

Even when GSM pico cells and wifi are available on every plane, you can still be assured that these services will be turned off during take off and landing.
ferrismo is offline  
Old Oct 14, 09, 1:07 am
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: London
Programs: BA Gold, EK Gold, GF Silver, IC Royal Ambass, Marriott Gold, TK Elite
Posts: 876
From my recent experiences on EK and QR, BA must have fun on Middle Eastern and Chinese flights then - heard plenty of messages coming in to mobiles as plane starts to descend.
MarkLHR is offline  
Old Oct 14, 09, 1:57 am
  #21  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: back to my roots in Scotland!
Programs: Tamsin - what else is there to say?
Posts: 47,845
Originally Posted by nologic View Post
Somewhat OT, why doesn't BA allow cell phones until the door opens when others have adopted a policy to allow phones to be switched on upon landing?

More OT, why can we send a man to the moon and not enable cell phones or electronics during take off or landing or any other time during the flight (maybe it's all to force us to pay attention to the Cabin Crew in case of an emergency)?
a) Because BA is regulated by the CAA which believes that mobile phones have the possibility to interfere with aircraft operations and as such won't allow their use. Other regulators may differ in their opinions (or how stringently they regulate this), but where CAA sees a safety need, then they have (as in legally and morally obliged) to act to ensure safety is maintained.
b) it would likely be possible to do this - all every phone manufacturer would have to do is have their equipment certificated by the aviation authorities as safe to use onboard aircraft - just as all other transmitting equipment on board the aircraft has to be. But since that would involve intensive testing, for every model, I'm not sure that phone manufacturers are really too keen to go down that route.
Jenbel is offline  
Old Oct 14, 09, 2:29 am
  #22  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Mostly AUS or rural England
Programs: BAEC redundant Bronze, AAdvantage Lifetime PLT, CO, WN, B6
Posts: 6,526
Originally Posted by ferrismo View Post
Yes, the aircraft communications equipment is adequately shielded to prevent cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices from causing interference. However there is no absolute certainty, there is no 100% guarantee from the company that installed the shielding that all RF signals will not cause interference.
Since take off and landing are the most crucial part of the flight the only way to guarantee that RF interference with the aircraft comms system is minimised, is to request that all electronic devices are turned off.
The reason it's all devices is because FAs don't have the time to check the technical specs of everyones mp3 player, game boy, phone etc... to see whether or not it would cause interference.

Even when GSM pico cells and wifi are available on every plane, you can still be assured that these services will be turned off during take off and landing.

I believe that's basically correct, but there's another MAJOR consideration. Even if every device is tested individually, the EM radiation can change radically when you plug in an external lead for headphones or a USB drive, and combination testing is virtually impossible. Add to that the problem of damage to the box (most of the plastic PC cases have to have some form of metallised shielding to screen the HF from the core parts) and there's a real, big can of worms lurking. The prudent thing is, as you say, to switch all this junk off when the aircraft is at its most vulnerable when the pilots have less time and space to react to the unexpected.
bernardd is offline  
Old Oct 14, 09, 2:56 am
  #23  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Korea
Programs: krisflyer, spg, priority club, Hyatt Plat,
Posts: 77
Originally Posted by bernardd View Post
I believe that's basically correct, but there's another MAJOR consideration. Even if every device is tested individually, the EM radiation can change radically when you plug in an external lead for headphones or a USB drive, and combination testing is virtually impossible. Add to that the problem of damage to the box (most of the plastic PC cases have to have some form of metallised shielding to screen the HF from the core parts) and there's a real, big can of worms lurking. The prudent thing is, as you say, to switch all this junk off when the aircraft is at its most vulnerable when the pilots have less time and space to react to the unexpected.
Yeah, as you said the combination of added external devices, damaged transmitters is impossible to regulate.
Why don't they place a shield (faraday cage) around the passenger cabin? This would stop all RF radiation from leaving the cabin and possibly impacting the RF equipment. Obviously your cell phone would then never receive a signal once your on the plane. Any ideas why this isn't or can't be done on an aircraft? I'm only talking about caging the passenger cabin, obviously pilot cabin and the RF equipment would not be shielded from transmitting.
ferrismo is offline  
Old Oct 14, 09, 4:57 am
  #24  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Programs: BAEC Silver, Junior Jet Club
Posts: 946
Well that's not going to add a huge amount of weight to the aircraft then, is it...?!?

Yes, the US is different, but there is still the possibility of having to evacuate on the ground after landing, hence the UK CAA's view that no phones should be on until parked at the gate.

Easiest solution is actually a receiver onboard to lock onto the devices onboard, preventing them from pumping out EM waves at full power, looking for a receiver

Last edited by Lucifer UK; Oct 14, 09 at 5:04 am
Lucifer UK is offline  
Old Oct 14, 09, 6:21 am
  #25  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 4,502
Originally Posted by MarkLHR View Post
From my recent experiences on EK and QR, BA must have fun on Middle Eastern and Chinese flights then - heard plenty of messages coming in to mobiles as plane starts to descend.
Quite. I'm almost 100% sure that every aircraft (including BAs) is carrying some phones that are not switched off on every takeoff and landing, and how many have crashed as a result? None I guess. And if they were a real risk, surely all phones would be confiscated at security and handed back on arrival. Unfeasible? Sure, but so is checking everyone for liquids...
SteveF is offline  
Old Oct 14, 09, 6:38 am
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: London
Posts: 2,308
Rules is rules. Doesnt matter whether people think they're daft or not, you buy your ticket and agree to abide. If you dont like it, dont travel.
kryten22uk is offline  
Old Oct 14, 09, 6:39 am
  #27  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: back to my roots in Scotland!
Programs: Tamsin - what else is there to say?
Posts: 47,845
Originally Posted by SteveF View Post
Quite. I'm almost 100% sure that every aircraft (including BAs) is carrying some phones that are not switched off on every takeoff and landing, and how many have crashed as a result? None I guess. And if they were a real risk, surely all phones would be confiscated at security and handed back on arrival. Unfeasible? Sure, but so is checking everyone for liquids...
And yet the CAA research (admittedly rather old now) said that there was a real, measurable risk.

Should they just ignore that because it's been ok so far? Regulators should be proactive- preventing accidents - not reactive - only reacting once the accident has occurred.

Afterall, we've never had a commercial jet loss in the UK due to birdstrike. So we don't really need to worry about trying to prevent it do we? OTOH, it's likely that we haven't had a commerical jet loss because we've been trying to prevent them. This despite the fact that birdstrikes can and do occur every day at UK airports...
Jenbel is offline  
Old Oct 14, 09, 6:50 am
  #28  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 4,502
Originally Posted by Jenbel View Post
And yet the CAA research (admittedly rather old now) said that there was a real, measurable risk.

Should they just ignore that because it's been ok so far? Regulators should be proactive- preventing accidents - not reactive - only reacting once the accident has occurred.

Afterall, we've never had a commercial jet loss in the UK due to birdstrike. So we don't really need to worry about trying to prevent it do we? OTOH, it's likely that we haven't had a commerical jet loss because we've been trying to prevent them. This despite the fact that birdstrikes can and do occur every day at UK airports...
I guess so, but again I'm surprised that we were ever allowed to take them aboard and were not told to put them in checked luggage (switched off of course). What is the official USA FAA take on mobiles? I'm sure that if they thought there was the slightest risk it would have been "Freeze! Put the phone down and walk away with your hands in the air" at security.

Bird strikes are another matter though since we know that they occur and that they have brought planes down in other countries.

Last edited by SteveF; Oct 14, 09 at 7:02 am
SteveF is offline  
Old Oct 14, 09, 7:00 am
  #29  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 700
I am curious to know (I'm sure there is a good reason) why mobile phones can be placed into flight-safe mode (if they have this feature) for take off, however all devices (including phones with flight-safe mode) need to be switched off completely for landing. Anyone know?
jameslon is offline  
Old Oct 14, 09, 7:04 am
  #30  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Programs: BA (GGL/CCR)
Posts: 1,202
I confess to knowing precisely zero about the technical issues involved, but I fervently hope that no-one will ever be able to prove that using mobiles on aeroplanes is safe, or will ever come up with a technical advance to make them so. If that happened the airlines would be under tremendous pressure from business customers to allow their use on board for conversations as well as silent uses such as texting, email etc.

I'm not sure quite why but there is something about people talking endlessly into their mobile that is deeply irritating. The thought of a cabin full of executives all taking vital calls about their company's important new contract to sell widgets in Peru, or whatever, is an extraordinarily unpleasant one.

Long may "safety" be there as a reason/excuse to stop it happening....
CCayley is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: