Primarily here for your safety

Old Feb 3, 17, 11:32 am
  #1  
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Primarily here for your safety

Band 4 yesterday, me in exit row aisle, gent (Russian but spoke perfect English) in exit window. The usual safety announcement inluded "all phones off, and exit rows remove headphones during take off". He was talking on the 'phone during, and long after the safety announcement and not noticed (?) by the crew members checking floor areas clear etc during taxiing. The crew member giving the demo 3 rows in front of us clearly looked at him as he was talking loudly, but said nothing.
Whilst waiting at the end of the runway, he was now visibly texting, and had large headphones on. As she passed, I asked the crew member to get the 'phone turned off. She replied "flight mode" without checking, so I said "but he's texting". No response, I suppose he could have just been preparing a message, and he continued to wear his over-ear headphones throughout take off, and again throughout landing. None of the crew said anything.
Crew not noticing pax ignoring rules I can understand, but to allow a pax at the exit row door to knowingly break them really annoys me.
I don't like telling tales, but should I report this?
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Old Feb 3, 17, 11:37 am
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Absolutely, yes. I think constructive feedback of an incident like this is most definitely warranted. It is one thing for a passenger to flout the rules but totally another for a crew member to not make even a modicum of an attempt to enforce them, especially when it has been pointed out to them. I think you have a right to be concerned for your own safety and the safety of others around you.
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Old Feb 3, 17, 11:37 am
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Ideally the crew member would have asked the gentleman to take his headphones off and confirm that his device was in flight safe mode, with regards to wear in his headphones during taxi, take off and landing though there are no guidelines or SOPs against that (or certainly not that I've come across in my 2 years as crew) even in an emergency exit row I'm afraid.
Ps. If any of my fellow crew on here can correct me on a written rule regarding headphones etc I'm very happy to stand corrected!
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Old Feb 3, 17, 11:39 am
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It's annoying indeed but never nice to grass if not a real safety issue: the other threads indicate the only time phones can really interfere is on autoland till touchdown.
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Old Feb 3, 17, 11:43 am
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Yes. Report it. No doubt whatsoever.
It is possible that the person had cleared it with the crew. But unless you know that for sure, report it.
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Old Feb 3, 17, 11:49 am
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I agree with all the above ... BA CC FAIL on this one.

Last edited by Prospero; Feb 3, 17 at 2:37 pm Reason: compliance with rule 12.2 (respecting our diversity)
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Old Feb 3, 17, 11:51 am
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While I can to some extent understand your concerns given that this man was sitting in an emergency exit row, I think there are two things that stand out:

First, (obviously) he should not be talking on the phone during the safety briefing. However, in my experience a crew member will speak to those seated in emergency exit rows to ensure that (i) they are capable of opening the door in an emergency and (ii) they are willing to do so. That is the information that he really should be aware of. Did that happen in this case?

Second, as to the use of headphones/hand-held electronic devices, BA's current policy is that these can be used during all phases of the flight, provided flight-safe mode is engaged. I must admit that I too have been guilty of sending a last minute text message/email before take off. As I am aware (and accept that I could be completely wrong about this) there is a lack of definitive evidence that a phone could cause significant interference. No doubt someone with knowledge of these matters will post and explain that I am completely wrong about this!
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Old Feb 3, 17, 12:20 pm
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Most of my flights are on AA these days. On probably about half my flights I'll see someone not only using their device with full connectivity to the network during taxi but also using it on approach.

In the old days I'd have had a quiet word with the culprit but it's now happening too often.

The flight attendants don't see to care anymore.
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Old Feb 3, 17, 12:22 pm
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I wouldn't get my knickers in a twist really. I've yet to see a plane falling out of the sky caused by a mobile phone.
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Old Feb 3, 17, 12:23 pm
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Originally Posted by rossmacd View Post
I've yet to see a plane falling out of the sky caused by a mobile phone.
And we're off...
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Old Feb 3, 17, 12:24 pm
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In the immortal words of Toby Ziegler: you're telling me I can flummox this thing with something I bought at Radio Shack?*

I'm afraid I'm going to be the contrarian who disagrees with everything said up to now in this thread. This was a total non-issue; feel free to report if you just have to, but there's really no need.

Let's clear something up: cell phones don't interfere with airplanes. The rationale for turning off their transmission functions is interference with cellular networks. Or more precisely, it's because cellular networks reuse frequencies at a pretty high density, and you don't want one endpoint bridging two ground stations using that same frequency. This is pretty much a dead-letter though, as cellular technology has improved to the point where it's not much of an issue. These days there's not really much point in these old regulations. Anymore the only real reasons to use airplane mode are to 1)avoid smoking your battery while the phone frantically tries to find towers when it's 6 miles up and 2)avoid angering your FAs.

Apparently lots of planes in the EU now have picocells that allow you to actually use mobile phones in the air; the FCC (not, notably, the FAA...again, this is not a flight safety issue) is allegedly considering rewriting the rules to allow these here as well. Presumably having the radio talking to something local helps with the ground interference...but obviously it wouldn't help if there were really an issue with airplane systems interference. Of course if cell phones really interfered with the plane, I anticipate the procedures would be a lot more stringent than "tell the pax to shut them off."

So in summary: this is not a safety issue. Just let it go. Your Russian friend may have been annoying, but it's nothing to make a federal case out of.

*Also notable is that just before this line the writers really whiffed. He says "This is an Eagle series L-1011; it rolled off the line 11 months ago." But of course the L-1011 had been out of production for like a decade by the time that show came out.
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Old Feb 3, 17, 12:29 pm
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Originally Posted by golfmad View Post
And we're off...
Hear hear! I wasn't going to say anything in my earlier post but I did have a bet with myself to see how long it was before the threat was derailed into a discussion about whether electronic devices would interfere with avionics etc.

For the benefit of everyone, that really isn't the issue here and has been rehashed time and time again. I think the OP is more concerned with the ambivalent attitude of CC performing the pre-flight safety checks.
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Old Feb 3, 17, 12:53 pm
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Originally Posted by T8191 View Post
I agree with all the above ... BA CC FAIL on this one.
I've had one experience like that. I'm in 2A coming back from TXL. There's a Russian in front in 1A chatting away on the phone, nothing said to him by crew until I look at the the crew and get eye contact with CSD ( I didn't say anything). He ignores the CSD just chatting away, and proceeds to recline his seat quite hard while still talking on phone when we have started the takeoff roll. My response is to push the seat back forward - a bit of an effort as he is quite a big man. He gets a bit angry shouting at me to which I respond "what if there is a last minute abort of the take off and I injure myself on the back of his seat because it is reclined". He gives a huff and accepts keeping his seat upright. Naturally as soon as the seatbelt sign goes off, he whacks his seat straight back and has to be asked by the crew to move his seat forward during service.

I didn't ask, but because it was one of the former BMI planes where the tray table is in your chest if the seat in front is reclined, I was grateful for the CSD's initiative.

Last edited by Prospero; Feb 3, 17 at 2:38 pm Reason: amend quotation
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Old Feb 3, 17, 1:01 pm
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Old Feb 3, 17, 1:11 pm
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Originally Posted by rossmacd View Post
I wouldn't get my knickers in a twist really. I've yet to see a plane falling out of the sky caused by a mobile phone.
That wasn't my concern either. It was more that someone who was almost standing up talking loudly over the seat back to his friend in the row behind throughout the safety demo, should be ignored by the CC 3 rows in front. Pax in the exit rows are only called upon to be "able" during take of and landing, and I don't know whether he had previously listened to a BA safety demo well enough to have memorised it. Those over-wing doors are difficult to open, and heavy to eject (I have done it). Also with the full headphones on, I doubt he would have heard any emergency instructions from the crew during take or landing. Although having watched the film Sully, I do believe they shout brace quite loudly.
Please don't belittle this series of poor attitudes to the safety of others by the man in the the exit row window seat, and the crew, by telling me that you haven't yet seen a 'plane fall out of the sky due to a 'phone.
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