Passenger Cited For Refusing To Get Off His Cellphone On Southwest Flight

A gentlemen who ignored flight attendants requests that he get off his cellphone was met by police when the flight landed at Dallas’ Love Field. Joe David Jones, 50, of Austin was ticketed for disorderly conduct, says the Associated Press.

Apparently, airlines can be fined up to $25,000 if passengers don’t get off the phone, and passengers themselves can be fined as well. The passenger could not be reached for comment by the AP, but a business associate said that Mr. Jones’ father was having a heart attack and and he was on the phone with the hospital.

“He expresses regret for the inconvenience that it caused the airline and its passengers, but he felt compelled because of the life and death nature of it to make that call,” Clayton said in a story for Monday’s online edition of the Austin American-Statesman.

Southwest passenger cited for refusing to get off cell phone [Houston Chronicle]
(Photo: Zonaphoto)


Edit Your Comment

  1. XTC46 says:

    He should see if there is a reward for turning in airlines that allow passengers to use their phone on the plane…maybe it will offset the fine.

  2. womynist says:

    Since when is talking on a phone “disorderly conduct”?

    “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to calm down.”

  3. legwork says:

    Heart attack? Interesting.

    “The tree came out of nowhere and struck my car.”

  4. kimsama says:

    Didn’t Southwest realize he was a the only one who could save his Dad’s life, over the phone?!

  5. donkeyjote says:

    And this shows you how easily police can abuse the disorderly persons charge.

  6. juiceboxonfire says:

    I read somewhere else (Yahoo News, I think) that he was yelling at the flight attendants and telling them to kiss his ass, but not saying anything about why he was on the phone.

  7. Chongo says:

    Didn’t Myth Busters “Bust” the whole cellphone causing interference thing? I could be wrong though but usually TV dosn’t lie to me

  8. Too bad he had his new iPhone D-fib with him, not at home with his dad.

  9. KivaWolf says:

    @womynist: That reminds me of the movie “Anger Management” with Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson. It may be funny in the movie but I am starting to think it ain’t so funny no more when it becomes closer to reality.

  10. katekate says:

    Don’t planes have airphones?

  11. BrAff says:

    Can you hear me now?


    ..Dad are you there?

    (yikes… even I don’t approve of this comment)

  12. AaronC says:

    Disorderly conduct doesn’t have to be physical. I have heard pleanty of people on their cell phone who basicly scream into the phone. You would never think it is only inches away…. sigh.

    And I don’t want to be stuck on a 4-10 hour flight with someone talking to people. Too noisy in too small and area. Even if it was a 30 minute flight, your phone policy can not show bias. It needs to cover all flights.

    @donkeyjote: I am 23 years old and have never had an infraction with the police. Nor has my parents. Nor has anyone in my extended family or friends. I guess it isn’t abused so much after all.

  13. @Red AuerБЯд╒╒: Then it shows dad on the other end saying something “Hahaha, I was just f*cking with you, son”

    but the son is freaking out.


  14. Norcross says:

    Yeah…the full story had him on the phone for 20 minutes. The flight attendants told him to hang up the phone, and each time his response was “kiss my ass”. THEN they called the cops. The airlines can get a $20,000 fine if someone is caught using a phone, so it’s in their best interest to get him to hang up.

  15. humphrmi says:

    @katekate: Southwest removed airphones from their planes in 2001.

  16. PunditGuy says:

    Reminds me of the pilot (no pun intended) of The West Wing.

    Toby: “We’re flying in a Lockheed eagle series L-1011. It came off the line 20 months ago and carries a Sim-5 Transponder tracking system. Are you telling me I can still flummox this thing with something I bought at Radio Shack?”

  17. Lucky225 says:


    Are you talking about the SAME mythbusters that says Laser Jammers don’t jam police Lidar, when there is plenty of evidence that they do?

  18. Sonnymooks says:


    I think they did debunk it, but they weren’t the only ones who did.

    At this point in time, the phone do NOT interfere with the airplanes communication equipment, and years ago at one time, using them on a plane could interfere with cell phone use on the ground (I can’t remember why that was the case).

    Today, cell phone use on the plane is still banned for various reasons, but I know one of the reasons is the fear that a passenger talking to loud can become disruptive, and the airlines would prefer that their planes not be like buses or trains with everyone talking on their cell phones.

    There are a couple of other reasons, but the main point is that some folks find others using their cell phones annoying, and they want it restricted, especially on airplanes.

  19. Sometimes they lie about the rules to solve another problem.

    In emergencies, they used to always tell you to take your shoes off. People just assumed it was to help them swim, or to avoid puncturing the slide. They never told you it was because you need something in your hands to occupy them. Before that, people would jump on the slides and try to control their descent, breaking fingers/wrists/arms in the process.

    Just some random trivia.

  20. Anks329 says:

    @PunditGuy: That’s a great line. I wonder what would happen if someone actually tried that on a plane

  21. TWinter says:

    @donkeyjote: Actually, I think this is a very appropriate use of a disorderly persons charge. The airlines claim that cell phones interfere with their equipment and if that is true then he was endangering the lives of everyone on the plane. That’s disorderly in my book.

  22. Ex_EA_Slave says:

    It is completely ignorant to think that a cell phone could bring down a plane. If this was the case, why wouldn’t terrorists just bring cell phones and make calls while flying commercial? If the airlines want to ban their use because they annoy other passengers, just tell us that. Don’t try to scare people into complying with rules when there is nothing to be afraid of.

  23. donkeyjote says:

    @TWinter: No, because that would be a attempted manslaughter or murder charge. Aggravated assault. Gross indifference to human life. There are plenty of more accurate charges for that. And then the airline would have to prove that it can or does interfere with their equipment in court.

  24. forgottenpassword says:

    If you piss off a member of the flight crew enough…. expect to get your ass yanked off the flight & in jail. (and it doesnt take much to piss off an already irritable attendant).

    IMO fLight crews have too much power & can easily abuse it. Same goes with TSA goons.

    I believe there was a story a while back about a passenger being threatened with “interfering with a flight crew” because he didnt want to sit in a freshly urine-stained seat.

  25. spoco says:

    I flew cross country about two weeks ago and when we landed, I went to call my wife and noticed that my phone had been on the whole time, receiving e-mails and text messages.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one that has accidentally did this, but I thought on the way home that I could get some e-mails answered. I didn’t, but I thought about it.

  26. ohnoes says:

    If anyone has Cingular, I’m sure you’ve heard feedback over every single speaker you pass. I spoke to a guy who designed airplane systems, and the phones don’t interfere with the communications systems because of the frequency difference. However, there is a possibility that they can cause interference with sensors on the planes, such as fuel and position monitors. Even though it’s a pretty small chance due to the wires and components being shielded, that’s the rationale behind banning cell phone use on planes.

  27. Shaftoe says:

    Currently the Regs are you must turn off all electronics during Take off and landing and while in flight certain electonics that broadcase are not allowed at all.

    Whether or not this actually impacts the avionics of the aircraft does nto matter. those are the regs and to deliberatly not follow them is grounds for arrest.

    There is talk about changing those regs but that would be evil too. I hate Loud talker person on the 20 minute bus ride home I could not bear loud talker person on a 6 hour trans continental flight

  28. Charybdis says:

    What difference does it make that his cell phone won’t interfere with the operation of the aircraft?

    Or was this supposed to be a case of civil disobedience against an unfair/unnecessary law? It doesn’t sound like it’s being promoted that way.

  29. spinachdip says:

    @Chongo: I don’t care if it’s a myth, I hope people believe it. For whatever reason, otherwise civil, considerate people become intolerable fuckfaces when they’re talking on the mobile.

  30. MoreIceCream says:

    When I first had a cell phone, I did not read the manual and did not know how to turn it off. I took a flight about a week later and just turned off all the sounds and vibrations and sat in my airplane seat hoping I would not cause a major catastrohe…and I think I slept a little too.

  31. ironchef says:

    his final excuse…”I’m Jack Bauer damn it!!!”

  32. Kajj says:

    It sounds like this guy was a jerk, but nothing on earth would stop me from calling the hospital if my father had a heart attack. I hope his legal trouble didn’t prevent him from being at his father’s side.

  33. XTC46 says:

    @Chongo: yea, so the technology isnt dangerous. but the first time I get caught next to some loud mouth on the phone, I will be aressted for assault.

  34. Serpephone says:

    @Chongo: Yes, you are correct. Mythbusters did “BUST” this myth. Cell phones do not cause interference with aircraft communications.

  35. nardo218 says:

    but he felt compelled because of the life and death nature of it to make that call,

    Oh, bull. Unless he’s his father’s attending physician, he isn’t necesary. What was he going to do over the phone?

  36. nardo218 says:

    @Serpephone: No, they didn’t bust it. They found it unlikely but plausible.

  37. spinachdip says:

    @nardo218: Oh, like you’ve never performed open heart surgery over the phone. Shit, just last week, I performed a hip replacement surgery on a dog via text messages.

  38. Buran says:

    @Ash78: I always just cross my arms in front of me if I am going down a fast/long slide and always have seen emergency evacuation instructions showing people doing the same. Crossing your arms also keeps them from flailing and getting injured.

    The “take off your shoes” warning is real, though, since some shoes have sharp heels etc. that could damage the slide.

    That said, IF he was only talking on the phone and not being loud about it, he’s guilty of failing to follow crew instructions, not disorderly conduct, but if he was making a scene, then the charge makes sense.

    But… if you’re experiencing a family emergency like that, you’re probably not rational, even if normally you’re very calm and collected. Being worried and frantic does that. Judgment would be good here.

    But, I was not there, so I know I don’t know everything about the situation – just pointing out a few things to consider.

  39. Buran says:

    @PunditGuy: I miss the L-1011.

  40. Sonnymooks says:

    Just out of curiosity, why didn’t this guy just go into the bathroom and make his call, no one would have known that he was on the phone.

  41. Illusio26 says:

    I’m all for no cell phones on flights. When I’m trapped in a small tube with a bunch of other people, the last thing I want is more random chatter from idiots on their cell phone.

    It’s bad enough haven’t to hear the 1 sided conversations from the girls on the train who talk about the most inane things at an unreasonable volume.

  42. edosan says:

    @Serpephone: No, Mythbusters decided it was unlikely but couldn’t prove it conclusively because (surprise) they couldn’t go up in a plane with a phone.

    They also admitted they could never test all the possible phones and all the possible airplane electronics to know for sure.

  43. sheepofdoom says:

    @edosan: Yeah, that’s about right. My understanding of the rationale behind banning electronics is because it’s logistically impossible to test the interaction of ALL consumer electronics on every little system of every plane model in use. Basically, they ban everything on the off chance that somewhere there’s a phone/watch/vibe that actually interferes with one of the subsystems.

  44. I wonder what service he uses. I once left my phone on when going to cle from jfk I thought I had the phone off until we took off and it started beeping because of no network coverage. I know that sprint doesn’t have coverage if your in a plane

  45. s35flyer says:

    good. I despise people who ignore flight attendants. If you dont like them, take the bus.

  46. bonzombiekitty says:

    @Ex_EA_Slave: You’re right, current cell phones are not going to bring down a plane. But the worry is more about interrupting things like navigation rather than actually bringing down the plane.

    And current cell phones won’t interfere with flight systems because they’re shielded and such. But, the concern with the FAA is that technology that comes out tomorrow might actually interfere with systems. So rather than trying to be sure that people are using only certain types of cell phones, and testing to see which ones are safe, they just have a blanket ban on it.

  47. Buran says:

    @ohnoes: Any GSM phone will do that — Cingular/AT&T/T-Mobile in the US, almost every carrier overseas, except for Japan which I think uses mainly CDMA.

    It’s also why most GSM phones don’t work with many hearing aids.

  48. Southwest is perfectly justified here. And I’m glad the guy was arrested. He’ll now have a federal arrest and an NCIC record because his call was so damned important.

    Whether cell phones cause interference or not, there are strict rules in the cabin for a reason – and no matter what those reasons might be, you agree to abide by those rules when you board.

    If it’s so important, get the regulations changed – don’t just sit there and whine about how the rules aren’t fair.

  49. @Buran: How often do you go down emergency slides?

  50. ninjatales says:

    If it’s very important, he would just let someone else take his seat and hop on to the next flight.

  51. Veeber says:

    @Chongo: Doesn’t matter. Until the FAA approves the use of cellphones on flight it’s still banned.

  52. Orv says:

    Actually, a big reason for the ban on using cell phones on planes is that it can tie up multiple towers, interfering with the cell phone hand-off system. This is why it’s not even legal for the pilot of a small plane to use the phone on his own aircraft, while in the air, even though he could just shut it off if he decided it was interfering with his equipment.

  53. Chese says:

    The using a cell phone part is really a non-issue in this story. He ignored a flight crew which is a big no-no. If a call is that important get off the plane and take a later flight. And on the mythbusters show about cell phones, it was far from exhaustive or scientific to conclude one way or another. Yes, one guy on a phone is not likely to cause any issue, but 200+ cellphones going.. jury is out. And for what its worth on the aircraft I work on we have a back up compass or whiskey compass that is mounted on top of the glareshield as a last resort navigation aid. There is a card that tells you what heading to fly because if you have avionics on or off its absolutely moves the compass by as much as 7 or 8 degrees. To say absolutely there would be no interference is unwise in my opinion.

  54. baristabrawl says:

    I don’t understand why people still care about this? You can’t use your phone on the plane, that is all. I don’t even try. I turn the damn thing off and I’m not bothered by it.

    Who do you need to call anyway? If the man dies, he dies. If you need to do something about it that bad, then you need a parachute. Right?

  55. donkeyjote says:

    @Chese: Get off the plane… In mid air?

  56. Chongo says:

    @spinachdip: I hear ya… I just wish there was a more common sense rule of thumb with this type of situation. I’m sure if the pilot asked everyone on the plane if it was ok for this man to speak to his family member because of a health related issue, they would all be cool with it.

    Now, I did not read the article nor do I know all the facts, I merely speak about the common sense aspect.

  57. chrispiss says:

    This was on the news the other night, apparently he was making final arrangements for his father if he passed.

    If that’s the case I’d do the same thing and refuse to get off.

  58. NW says:

    @katekate: no, all aircraft do not have in-flight phones available.

  59. spinachdip says:

    @Buran: “But… if you’re experiencing a family emergency like that, you’re probably not rational, even if normally you’re very calm and collected. Being worried and frantic does that. Judgment would be good here.”

    You’re right – it’s easy for us, from our desks, sitting at home or the office, to rag on the guy for not doing as he was told (or as I did, make stupid jokes), the common sense faculties really do shut down when we are in shock or overstressed. Southwest did what it had to do, I guess, but I’m not sure anyone in the guy’s shoes would have reacted too differently.

  60. t325 says:

    Cell phones on planes won’t cause interference, but once above a certain altitude and speed, they won’t work either. Your cell phone might barely get a signal, if at all, when up that high, and due to your speed, you’ll be switching towers so fast that the mobile network won’t be able to keep up. Things like text and e-mail might work intermittently, if it can stay locked onto a tower for just long enough, but making a call will be damn near impossible.

    The foreign airlines that do have cell phone use on board are much like a cruise ship, it’s an onboard base station that communicates to the ground via satellites….and you’re going to pay out the ass in roaming fees. Those airlines have proven 2 things: 1) Cell phones on planes don’t cause interference and 2) People can’t live without their cell phones for a few hours and will bend over and take it just to use the damn thing

  61. Altdotweb says:

    If the same scenario played out in a courtroom, would he have acted the same way?

  62. buzzair says:

    If cell phones really did cause planes to go down in any way…they would ban them from the plane.

    They are not going to trust the honor system for the lives of hundreds of people and a multi-million dollar aircraft.

    But…they might be keeping the ban because don’t forget, many people aren’t in the know. Think of all the people who don’t watch Mythbusters, read consumerist or have general knowledge that cell phones don’t cause problems anymore.

    People are going to be uneasy and afraid if they see people using cell phones based on what the airline has brain washed into their skull all these years.

    In a tight confined area packed full of people from all walks of life and personalities over an extended period of time, it’s better to keep the peace as much as you can.

  63. So let’s assume the statement that his father had a heart attack was true. Whether it is or not isn’t really relevant.

    What is relevant is how many people seem to think that the life of a close relative isn’t as important as their need to not be “bothered” by other people talking. Of course there’s nothing you can do on the phone to help someone having a heart attack… But it wouldn’t stop me from trying to talk to my loved one if they were in a state where they may die and I wouldn’t hear them again.

    I read the comments here and see a lot of children who don’t comprehend life outside their self-centered desire to not be disturbed. You don’t want loud noises? Don’t ride a fucking airplane, dipshits! Buy a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Or here’s an idea, talk to the passengers next to you.

  64. timmus says:

    Here’s a story straight from the horse’s mouth — Boeing:

    I’d trust that over Mythbusters or any CYA bull from the airlines.

    Boeing conducted a laboratory and airplane test with 16 cell phones typical of those carried by passengers, to determine the emission characteristics of these intentionally transmitting PEDs. The laboratory results indicated that the phones not only produce emissions at the operating frequency, but also produce other emissions that fall within airplane communication/navigation frequency bands (automatic direction finder, high frequency, very high frequency [VHF] omni range/locator, and VHF communications and instrument landing system [ILS]). Emissions at the operating frequency were as high as 60 dB over the airplane equipment emission limits, but the other emissions were generally within airplane equipment emission limits. One concern about these other emissions from cell phones is that they may interfere with the operation of an airplane communication or navigation system if the levels are high enough.

  65. joellevand says:

    Southwest is absolutely justified here. Even if there is no danger what so ever with cell phone usage, it is absolutely annoying as hell when people scream into their cell phones about the most banal things. Moreover, it is the FAA’s rule, which they are enforcing, not something they made up to fuck with consumers. If you don’t like the rules, take a train, drive, or take a cruise. Airplanes aren’t the only way to go.

    And I second the comments above: how was his being on the phone going to help his father?

  66. Pylon83 says:

    The only phones I have seen interfere with Aircraft radios (real world experience) are Nextel’s. I’ve used GSM and CDMA phones in small aircraft with no problem. The only ones that cause clicking in the radio are Nextel’s.

  67. Candyman says:

    Geeze; to paraphrase Red Foreman, why do people even watch Mythbusters if they’re not going to pay attention?

    Mythbusters demonstrated that call phones CAN interfere with airline navigation equipment using unshielded instruments, but also demonstrated using an aircraft on the ground that properly functioning equipment is shielded and unaffected. So, plausible but unlikely.

    And as they pointed out, it MAY HAVE ACTUALLY HAPPENED, at least once:
    “The government crash report does not mention cell phone activity as a primary cause of the crash, and instead attributes it to pilot error.[9] However, a separate investigation into the cause of the crash showed that the autopilot system malfunctioned at the same time that a passenger’s cell phone on board the plane received an SMS message and another received a call. After this information was made public, a number of countries that had previously been reluctant to do so outlawed cell phones on flights (including Switzerland).[10][11][12]”

    Most commercial aircraft have heavily shielded and redundant systems, and a navigation system failure in itself can’t cause the plane to fall out of the sky. So for cell phones to “crash” the plane would require multiple failures, as well as pilot error. BUT it could happen.

  68. waldito says:

    I’m surprised that so many of you can’t imagine why this conversation might be medically critical. I’ve had a number of life-and-death cell phone conversations with my wife’s physicians.

    When someone has a medical history that fills 3 binders, and is unconscious at the moment, this can be the only way for the doctor to get a quick answer. My wife carries a usb drive with her whole file, but who’s gonna spend 10 minutes to sift thru that in an emergency?

    Having said all that, If I ever did take a call like that on a plane, my response to the flight attendant would be something other than ‘kiss my ass.’

  69. tedyc03 says:

    It really doesn’t matter. The flight attendant told him to get off the phone, which is what FAA policy says the flight attendant must do. Federal law says that a passenger must comply with all crew instructions. He refused. At least they didn’t throw a terrorism charge at him (THAT is abuse of police power). He was disorderly when he refused to comply with a lawful order. Period.

  70. Lambasted says:

    Too bad the attendant couldn’t open a window and thrown the cell out. I am sick of hearing people talk loudly on their cell phones in public. Yak, yak, yak. Oh, the shrill sounds of their voices hurts my ears.

    Women are worst offenders. Not only can’t we go to the bathroom by ourselves, but now we can’t even walk through a store without the support of someone on the other end of a cellphone. When cell talker comes near me, sometimes I stop what I am doing and stare at them to let them know, “yes, I am listening to your conversation.” Eventually, they become uncomfortable and move away.

    Forget waterboarding as a means of torture. Just force people to leave their homes without a cell attached to their ear and they will go mad from loneliness by the end of the day. Pathetic.

  71. Zatnikitelman says:

    Federal Law and interference bullshit be damned! The most plausible story that I’ve heard come out of this so far is that he had to make a life or death decision FOR his Father! Let’s see, pull the plug so he can die in peace without pain, but I won’t get to see him alive again, or keep him hooked up for 4 hours in extreme pain just so I can wait out this undersized tin can and see him again. Hmmm, yea real hard choice. [no sarcasm]
    Not only that, but Ham Radios on airplanes are only bound by the pilot’s discretion. These operate not close to, but IN the same frequencies that airplanes use, and the handhelds can transmit 5-7 full blown watts while a cellphone is lucky to put out 1/4 watt! Seriously, this is just another example of our scaredy cat jerks running away with their power. Frankly, I think United States Airspace should be shut down entirely until the Constitution re-applies to airtravellers. If Nazi…Congress refuses, then no more airplanes. Problems ALL solved!

  72. marasolo says:

    Ah, if people could just follow directions and turn their stuff off for a few.

    And on jetBlue, everyone has headphones on; and a few times I’ve seen people keep their mp3 players on… just concealed. These are those rebellious kids all grown up…

  73. WingZero987 says:

    @chrispiss: Then you would be a total arse. You want to be on your phone? The simple answer is to get off the plane. There, off the stupid plane, nobody can bother you and you can conduct your business.

    The guy didn’t follow the rules. I hope he pays the entire fine. He should’ve just gotten off the plane.

  74. nonzenze says:

    “It really doesn’t matter. The flight attendant told him to get off the phone, which is what FAA policy says the flight attendant must do. Federal law says that a passenger must comply with all crew instructions.”

    QFT. These aren’t unreasonable rules (note that wrong and unreasonable are not synonyms — there are many things that I disagree with that are still reasonable).

  75. stuny says:

    I had a friend who was ordered to stop taking pictures during takeoff. When he asked why, the attendant told him all electronics have to be switched off.

    He answered that his old 35mm camera was mechanical and had no electronics, no battery, no on/off switch. She refused to accept that was possible, saying all cameras are electronic, and forced him to put it away.

    Darn gears must’ve been interfering with navigation!

  76. bms says:

    @katekate: Southwest doesn’t even have assigned seats.

  77. IrisMR says:

    @Candyman: You got it. And like they said, it’s easier to just ban cellphones alltogether than test each and every new one that comes out every darn week.

    Good call from the cops. Sorry for the dying dad but there’s a no cellphone law for a reason.

  78. mac-phisto says:

    1) i’m pretty sure that if most of us were given the choice of breaking a rule & speaking to their dad for what could quite possibly be the last time, we’d break the rule – at least i know i would.

    2) who cares why cell phones are banned. they just are. nobody bitches that they can’t go behind the “authorized personnel only” door in the airport, why should this be any different? whether the reasons are valid or not, i’m certainly happy that i don’t have to deal with the noise pollution.

    so, yes, i agree with the rule, but if i were in the same situation, i also would have broken it.

  79. Wormfather says:

    @PunditGuy: I have watched a lifetime total of 5 minutes of the West Wing and I’m glad that that scene was one of them.

  80. hollywood2590 says:

    1.) In that type of emergency I could see how him being on the phone was his priority. Makes sense and can’t argue, however he was an ass about it and thats problem number 1.
    2.) Cell phones are against FAA regulations, so they have every right to ticket him when he leaves the plane.
    3.) If another idiot on here pretends to know shit about avionics when they have no fucking idea I’m going to cry. Seriously, if you don’t know what you’re talking about don’t post. Cell phones can cause problems on flights. Its not like a bomb going off, its not going to immediately take down the plane, but it can mess things up. Imagine driving down the road and suddenly losing power steering. Now, are you going to crash for sure? No, but if you’re coming up on a turn it might be a little surprising and it could potentially lead to an accident.

  81. darkryd says:

    Good for Southwest.

    The guy should have known better.

  82. dirk1965 says:

    I’m surprised that the police didn’t taser him as well! LOL!

  83. vdragonmpc says:

    I guess the pilot was up front screaming “oh my god I just lost GPS systems someone must be using a cell phone oh god oh god.”

    The guys attitude sucked but they could have asked what was so important that he was risking a anal search at the airport.

  84. RobertW.TX says:

    FAA Fact sheet on why cell phones are banned:


    As a private pilot who researched the possible problems with using a phone while in the air. I can tell you there is a decent chance of interfering with ground based towers what are not designed for the rapid hand-offs and long range transmission. I don’t think it is as big a deal as it would have been 10 years but still a concern.

    The fact is regulations and laws exist for a reason. If you don’t think a regulation is justified use the political process to get it changed don’t ridicule and airlines and law enforcement for doing their jobs. Neither group makes the laws.

    I see this all the time and it drives me nuts. I have the same argument once a month with friends about speed cameras. My opinion is put them in every 2 miles down the highway to keep us all honest. If the community thinks the limits set are too low then get them changed don’t limit the ways police have to enforce them.

    My $0.02

  85. The Great Aussie Evil says:

    Southwest’s allowed to land at Love Field now?!

  86. RobertW.TX says:

    @The Great Aussie Evil: Southwest is biased at Love Field that is their main airport. They were offered a space at DFW couple years ago when Delta was scaled back but refused. They finally got the Wright Amendment lifted though the process is being phased in over 8 years.

  87. Buran says:

    @CaliforniaCajun: I didn’t specify emergency slides because I was referring to all sorts of slides, including amusement slides, and it’s always a good idea to control what your arms are doing. You don’t want to get your arm caught while you are moving. Good way to break it.

  88. donkeyjote says:

    @hollywood2590: It is not the local or state police’s job/duty/right/ability to levy FCC or FAA fines. Only the FCC or FAA can fine or ticket him for those offenses.

  89. Zabella says:

    I have just got my new definition if hell! Sitting in an airplane with my knees up around my neck with teenagers surrounding me talking about their lives on their mobile, punctuated by bad mobile rings and SMS tones and putting their seats up, down, up, down, up

    No wonder they ban mobiles on planes

  90. RetailGuy83 says:

    Well, this late on to the boards and no one is likely to read this but, what no one who supports the man using his phone has either mentioned or realized is this:

    Either A) He boarded the plane knowing about his fathers condition and therefore knowingly PLANNED to violate the cell phone ban, or

    B) He was already in violation of the policy before he got the news, thus how he learned mid-flight. Either way, Total asshat.

  91. nonzenze says:

    “It is not the local or state police’s job/duty/right/ability to levy FCC or FAA fines. Only the FCC or FAA can fine or ticket him for those offenses.”

    Yeah, but they certainly can arrest him for violating a criminal statute (failing to obey crewmember instructions).

  92. arkitect75 says:

    FYI, Some airlines are going to rollout airborne wifi this summer. Some will use satellites and some will use cell towers.

    check out the article on WIRED for more info:

  93. taka2k7 says:

    If he did what he thought was necessary (i.e. stay on the phone), then he should be prepared to accept the consequences (i.e. getting arrested).

    The flight crew were right for calling the cops.

    As for cell phones on planes. I would think the annoyance factor would be good enough to ban them (unless your plane has a cone of silence and good shielding). If all phones are built to spec then interference is unlikely on modern aircraft. However, not all phones are built to spec and not all planes are modern, so from a risk management standpoint, you control what risks you can.

    Seat back phones would be an option if they were available and cost effective for the carrier. It’s unlikely that they would be cheap, otherwise it would be just as annoying as a cell phone.

  94. fjordtjie says:

    if it were any other circumstance, i would say about damn time, but i feel bad for the guy just because of his dad. but i also agree with the airline for following their rules. if they’d only do that when it comes to maintaining the planes! if cellphone use interferes with flying the plane, he shouldn’t have risked the lives of everyone on the plane to do it, or maybe said a meaningful goodbye and gotten off quickly.

    they need to do more of this with the dumbf***s that are on all of my flights yelling into their phone the whole time. unless this is a new rule, every flight i’ve been on regulates use during take-off and landing, but cellphones were ok during the actual flight, which was annoying as hell.

  95. Zatnikitelman says:

    I remember somewhere in some very obscure federal regulation that [b]life and death situations, or situations involving the immediate welfare of relatives[/b] are automatically excepted from many laws including ALL civilian communications laws (you still can’t hijack a military frequency, or deliberately INTERFERE [proven interference] with other communication services). The asshats in the air just wanted to throw their power around cause they think he was a masked bin laden or something. If this lack of respect for simple liberty continues, then I move that ALL united states air traffic be totally and completely grounded (SAR and life flights excepted) so everyone can feel safe. Or maybe, we should just restrict everyone to not leaving a 5 mile radius from their houses, or maybe just strap everyone to wooden boards when they’re born so they can’t possibly endanger others, or maybe just not be born. Yea, that’s it, just nuke every single human, that’ll keep everyone 100% completely safe!

  96. hollywood2590 says:

    You’re awesomely dumb and I love you for it.

  97. aaronw1 says:

    By and large it doesn’t matter so much the cellphone – Federal law requires compliance with all placards and flight crew directions. EOF