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Old 05-23-2006, 06:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ban on phones in flight may be lifted

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortu...05/29/8378024/

Quote:
Cellphones on a plane!
The ban on phones in flight may be lifted - but is that necessarily a good thing?

y Jimmy Guterman, FORTUNE
May 23, 2006: 7:46 AM EDT

(FORTUNE Magazine) - The security line feels like a maze, the legroom in coach reminds you of the time your son talked you into climbing into his crib, and it looks as if you'll have to circle over O'Hare a few more times.

But don't complain yet: The most unpleasant place for business travelers may be about to get even more disagreeable.

Consumer advocates, trade groups, and even one phone company (Cingular) have gone on the record against phones on airplanes in flight. An early attempt at the service, Verizon (Research)'s Airfone, appealed to only the most desperate callers, thanks to its $4.99-per-minute rate and echo-chamber sound.

But now air carriers (which are hungry for any new revenue opportunity) and some mobile-phone carriers (which want to extend their reach to the skies) are pushing for changes in rules that will permit phone calls while in flight.

As FORTUNE went to press, the FCC was holding an auction for two available licenses to provide high-speed telecom services on planes. While the auction was mostly about the right to offer in-flight Internet access, most industry observers believe no-holds-barred calling can't be far off.

There are already signs that regulatory resolve is on the wane. Right now the Federal Aviation Administration bans the use of regular mobile phones in flight for safety reasons. But last year the FAA gave preliminary approval for United Airlines to test Wi-Fi in flight.

And while the FCC restricts the use of standard mobile phones after takeoff, it issued a proposal in 2005 to lift that ban so long as the phones are connecting to an antenna on the plane itself.

The safety issues may be avoided by using voice-over-Internet phones, but that may actually diminish travelers' comfort. Not only will you have to deal with people talking, but, in your cramped seat, you'll be surrounded by talkers who also need to get their computers connected to do it. Passengers on international flights that permit Internet access report that some are already using VoIP services such as Skype to make phone calls.

"I commute to work every day by plane," says Thom McDaniel, president of Transport Workers Union of America Local 556, which represents Southwest (Research) flight attendants. "There are enough things about air travel that can be uncomfortable. The one saving grace is that we don't have to listen to someone on the phone for hours. On a train you can get up and move if you want to, and go to a quiet car. On a plane you don't have the option of leaving. You're stuck."

As long as we're captive, the next logical step is for the airlines to follow Amtrak's lead by creating "quiet sections" on planes and charging a premium for them - the way they now charge for amenities, like snacks, that used to come with the price of a coach ticket. And for many business travelers, the silence might just be worth it.
This is something that I hope never comes to be. While I call bullshit on the notion that a phone is going to bring a jet plane to the ground (OK, I'm doubtful anyway) there is no way to escape an annoying phone caller on a plane. I've sat next to many who have usedtheir phone up to the second that the flight attendant has said to turn portable electronics off. Those people it seem tend to talk very loudly due to the noise on a plane even before it leaves the ground.

I figure I can be as busy as anyone, but I can live a few hours on a plane without calling someone. Not to mention when you get a half dozen or so people calling at once, sitting next to each other trying to hear their call over everyone else talking, the engines and whatnot.

I even don't mind people using phones in most other public places. After all, many of those palces afford an opportunity to escape.

Maybe the back of the plane can be standing room and phone only areas.
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Old 05-23-2006, 07:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Invest in these: Bose QuietComfort 2 Noise-Canceling Headphones
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Old 05-23-2006, 07:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If I had 300 to drop on something like headphones. I imagine those are good ones. I have some cheapo noise cancelling earbuds I bought on e-bay. They aren't too bad, but not too good either.

But then again, I suppose my social skills listening to Jethro Tull on a plane aren't much better than a cell phone junkie.
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Old 05-23-2006, 07:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycho Dad
If I had 300 to drop on something like headphones. I imagine those are good ones. I have some cheapo noise cancelling earbuds I bought on e-bay. They aren't too bad, but not too good either.

But then again, I suppose my social skills listening to Jethro Tull on a plane aren't much better than a cell phone junkie.

you can get Sennheiser noise cancelling headphones for less than half that price, and they sound better anyway

on the O topic, the current rule says you can't use cell phones because it's a safety issue. If it's really NOT a safety issue then the rule should be abolished. But that doesn't mean individual airlines can't outlaw the things themselves.
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Old 05-23-2006, 08:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I can see where maybe in the day it was a safety issue. When towers were few and far between around here, I used to put my phone on the dash to get a better signal. When the phone would ring, the radio would cut out, which worked as well as a ringer I guess. Certainly that may have been bad for a plane's navigational equipment. But those were old analog phones that were big enough to be used as weapons.

Something that makes me suspect the effect of modern phones is that I've seen a few hospitals drop cell phone usage rules. Even when my dad was in ICU recently the staff used cells.
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Old 05-23-2006, 08:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Man, I dunno. I'm with you that I never saw cellies as actually taking a plane down. I'm also with you that a plane full of people on cell phones would be similar to visiting hell. I like to sit back, and try to relax. I'd have to personally insert phones in other people's rectums should this come to pass. Or somthing.

I mean, man, it's bad when you're in the terminal waiting, and someone is just so important they have to talk the entire time. Then you get on, and they won't shut it off until they're made to. Then the SECOND they let you turn them back on...you guessed it: "OKAY WE'RE HERE. NO, I'M STILL ON THE PLANE...WHAT? NO. I'M STILL ON THE PLANE. YEAH WE'LL DO EXACTLY AS WE PLANNED AND I'LL MEET YOU AT HOME. NO, AT HOME. HOME, I SAID AT HOME. OKAY LOVE YOU TOO, BYE."

The whole volume thing sucks in such an enclosed space. Damn. I'm bringing a hogtie on a plane if they make cells good to go the entire flight.
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Old 05-23-2006, 08:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billege
I mean, man, it's bad when you're in the terminal waiting, and someone is just so important they have to talk the entire time. Then you get on, and they won't shut it off until they're made to. Then the SECOND they let you turn them back on...you guessed it:
And quite often I see those people at the baggage claim not doing a damn thing but waiting on their bags to come up. Guess they took care of all those important issues on the plane and the in the terminal.
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Old 05-24-2006, 02:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I had questioned a while back why they didn't allow cell phone being turned on planes, as well as other electronics - and i stumbled into a pilot forum... they were pretty much split 50/50 as to whether electronics and/or cell phones cause interferance with communications equipment.. navigation equipment (which is the claim) was unaffected, but they would occassionally get feedback on communcation witht he tower.

That said.. People usin cell phones in flight would need their own section... Amtrak got sick of the customer complaints of people using cell phones on the Metroliners and instituted a quiet car...made people happy... I don't need to hear other people's conversations let alone their cell phone conversations...

Can you hear it now?
(Yelling into phone) HI Can you hear me now?
Guess where I am
I'm on the plane
OK< now let me talk about something completely non meaningful in hopes of really annoying my fellow passengers.
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Old 05-24-2006, 03:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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They tested this one on Mythbusters. With an old unshielded communications system and the right kind of cell phone, the system went completely haywire. With a modern electronically shielded system, they couldn't affect it no matter how much they tried.

Also, 'noise cancelling' headphones won't help with blocking out someone on a cell phone, because they only remove the constant sounds like engines or air conditioners. You want in-ear 'noise blocking' earphones.
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Old 05-24-2006, 03:30 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Well, I'm going to go along the same Lines as Maleficent and Amtrak... If your sooo important that you must talk on your cellphone after liftoff, then you should have a section on the plane sepereated by a small barrier and it will cost a few bucks more.. This way the airlines make out a little bit, and I don't have to hear annoying people yacking away for no particular reason. If your on Business, then the company will pick up the check.. but for $20 more... Many people will just say "forget it.. I'll wait till we land"
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Old 05-24-2006, 03:40 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maleficent
Can you hear it now?
(Yelling into phone) HI Can you hear me now?
Guess where I am
I'm on the plane
When the seatback phones came out on planes I heard that go down.

Now that I think of it, I don't really recall a lot of people using the seatback sets for much else. And some airlines have discontinued seatback phone service. I guess in the age of cellular phones, people realize they can wait until the flight is over. Somehow I think though that if the ban is lifted, people will forget that they can wait.
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Old 05-24-2006, 05:52 AM   #12 (permalink)
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As an avid user of the seatback phones for the last 5 or 6 years, I am always very aware of my volume, even more than when I'm on the ground. It goes double when I'm packed into coach. My assistants can always tell when I'm calling from the plane because I'm practically whispering to keep from annoying my neighbors. On the ground, however, I usually don't have any sort of idea what my volume is.

If this actually happens, I expect that I'll maintain the same manners. If you're flying United, I'll be the guy hunched over with the phone pressed to his ear. I'd rather be reading, but business now moves at the speed of light.
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Old 05-24-2006, 06:04 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Jazz
but business now moves at the speed of light.
maybe but people need a break from technology for a moment too..

When I was flying 100K + miles a year.. .I was grateful for the 2 hour flight where I was out of touch... Voicemail exists for a reason... Nothing is that earth shattering that it can't wait until I am back on the ground...
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Old 05-24-2006, 06:14 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maleficent
Nothing is that earth shattering that it can't wait until I am back on the ground...
I wish that were true for me, Mal. Two weeks ago I went to Vegas for a conference, which required a 2 1/2 hour flight from Chicago. While I was in the air, I checked my voice mail at work twice and discovered that we were getting blindsided on an account at the last minute that was worth about $50,000 in revenue to me. I had to have the problem solved before I was due to land. Thanks to the airphone, I solved the problem and made my client look good because of it.

My business is probably a little different that most peoples in that I get calls on my cell phone at night and on the weekends as a matter of course. I also get emails at odd hours since I do a lot of business in London and a lot of my clients are on the West Coast. But I'm probably the exception to the rule.
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Old 05-24-2006, 06:24 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redlemon
Also, 'noise cancelling' headphones won't help with blocking out someone on a cell phone, because they only remove the constant sounds like engines or air conditioners. You want in-ear 'noise blocking' earphones.
I want voice-blocking-stock-stuffing-in-the-mouth devices.
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Old 05-24-2006, 06:54 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Hopefully these things won't cause problems with the aircraft electronics.
Portable Cell Phone Blocker
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Old 05-24-2006, 07:59 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I'm pretty sure those things are illegal.
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Old 05-24-2006, 08:49 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Yeah, this seems like an extremely bad idea to pack in your luggage. It may cancel out the cell signal but what else would it cancel out?
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Old 05-24-2006, 09:25 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Jazz
It may cancel out the cell signal but what else would it cancel out?
Probably your flight when it was found in your luggage.
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Old 05-24-2006, 09:28 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycho Dad
Probably your flight when it was found in your luggage.
I'd bet a shiney quarter that an item such as that would go thru as checked luggage with nary a problem... I have so many different electronic gadgets in my bag... i think the TSA guards are so used to electronics, that this is just one more gadget...

as long as it's not sharp and can't be used as a weapon... and it doesn't get caught in the test for explosives - -you'd be good to go...
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Old 05-24-2006, 09:41 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Other less powerful models look exactly like cell phones. Indeed, they're built inside cell phone cases.

But I'd still feel nervous about firing one of those up on a flight without a parachute.
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Old 05-24-2006, 09:47 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I've never been nervous about flying before, and this is having at least two "assume the crash position" type landings... BUT I'd really be nervous if I thought that the plane could be flummoxed by something purchased from Best Buy... Surely the planes are built a little better than that...
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Old 05-24-2006, 10:27 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I'm pretty sure the only reason the phone ban ever started was to get the passengers to use that insanely expensive AirPhone that is on the seat in front of you. Maybe now they just gave up on it.....





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Old 05-24-2006, 10:36 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maleficent
I've never been nervous about flying before, and this is having at least two "assume the crash position" type landings... BUT I'd really be nervous if I thought that the plane could be flummoxed by something purchased from Best Buy... Surely the planes are built a little better than that...
You can't buy it from Best Buy fortunately...

Quote:
The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in the United States has outlawed the sale and use of jammers because they can in theory interfere with emergency communications between police and rescue personnel, aid in criminal activity as well as disrupt medical equipment like pacemakers.

Even though jammers are illegal, it will be pretty difficult for the FCC to catch you. Triangulating the exact position of someone with a jammer will require some fancy hi-tech tracking gear and several personnel.

However if you do get busted using a cell phone jammer, be prepared for a possible $11,000 fine. Remember, jammers are mainly intended for military or government use.
I think that if you cancel some one's call in a public place you're an ass. Yes, there's a time and a place but it's not your job to shut them up and if you do, you're just being an arrogant prick in my opinion.
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Old 05-24-2006, 02:13 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maleficent
I'd bet a shiney quarter that an item such as that would go thru as checked luggage with nary a problem...
I'd like to think that anything that looked like that pic would arouse at least some suspicion. But then maybe not.
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Old 05-24-2006, 04:36 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorade Frost
You can't buy it from Best Buy fortunately...



I think that if you cancel some one's call in a public place you're an ass. Yes, there's a time and a place but it's not your job to shut them up and if you do, you're just being an arrogant prick in my opinion.
well, to be honest, I would most likely use that around people I'm hanging out with for when they can't get off their phones or at a birthday party or something along those lines
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Old 05-24-2006, 06:17 PM   #27 (permalink)
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They should definitely have a designated cell phone section on the airplane that charges more - it just makes sense.

Also, if you're skeptical about a cell phone's interference with the airplane electronics why wouldn't you also be with the cell phone blocker (quite possibly the best invention)? Cell phone blocker's are a Godsend. Many churhces, theaters, restaurants are now using them. Hopefully, all the lecture halls on campus will be outfitted as well. It's really a win-win. Now people won't have to worry about "forgeting" to turn off their cell phones in these places so they can concentrate on the matter at hand.
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Old 05-24-2006, 07:30 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Well I would hope that the planes are protected from cell phones and cell phone blockers because you know that there are many people who will carry and use these devices on board. There are many models of blockers available so someone must be buying them.

I imagine that those being blocked will just think they are in a bad reception zone or something so they won't even know they are being blocked by someone wanting peace and quiet. The airlines will probably have to do something about these after getting complaints from cell phone users unable to make or receive calls.
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Old 05-24-2006, 07:44 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Sure, that's why a designated section on the plane would be ideal. People who want to use cell phones can and those who don't, don't have to hear them.

Cell phone blockers in commercial use are static units. The portable devices are the ones that look like cell phones. I agree that it would be kind of obnoxious for someone to use this abritrarily, deciding who can or cannot use their cell phones as opposed to an area ban like the other types (employed in churches, theaters and restaurants and hopefully lecture halls). Like the people who use the anti-seat recliner device, really obnoxious. Either we all can recline or none of us recline (LOL).
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