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Last time we went over this nonsense we included the line "yes of course this is idiotic," before stepping back and promising to watch our language because "this is a family blog." But now those same moronic 2011 anecdotes are being recycled as proof that cell phones and tablets can interfere with the navigation systems of gigantic airliners? And now Bloomberg is declaring that "more than a decade of pilot reports and scientific studies" imply that it's true? Fuck. That.
Listen. If you believe that something you bought off the shelf at an Apple Store has the ability to interfere with a Boeing 747... well, we're not going to do the stand-up comedian thing where we tell you to kill yourself. But at a minimum, as a public service, consider chemical castration. "A decade of pilot reports and scientific studies"? Holy. Shit.
A new confidential report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), meant to evaluate whether in-flight cell phones and other electronic devices can really interfere with airplanes, has been obtained by ABC News. The report is based on surveys returned by employees of 125 airlines covering flights from the years 2003 to 2009. Out of that sample, 75 incidents were identified as examples of possible electronic interference. On the basis of those incidents, ABC Newsand just about everybody else who has picked up the storyconcludes that "there really could be serious safety issues related to cellphones and other PEDs."
Before you get worried though, yes of course this is idiotic. Social scientists have a word for the kind of "incidents" documented in this report. They call them "anecdotes." The rest of us also have a word for that kind of datawhich seems to be compiled from flight attendants who think that coincidences are proof and that cell phones are powered by crystals that transmit magical waves through the etherbut this is a family blog. Kind of.
Bad Ideas / Pilots / Airlines / Airline News / Jetstar / Cell Phones / → All Tags
We’ll freely admit it. We sometimes jump the gun and flip on our cell phones right before touchdown, but so far we’ve been safe. That’s not the case for a Jetstar pilot who apparently needed to update a Facebook or Twitter account to let friends, family, and grandma know that all was well. The pilot busted out the technology a little too soon, and kind of forgot that there was an airplane to fly.
The plane was about 400-feet off the ground on its way down into Singapore, when the pilot realized that he hadn't even lowered the landing gear, and so he pulled the plane back up towards the wild blue yonder. The nearly 170 passengers aboard the flight are fine, but some probably updated their own accounts with some choice words regarding their second landing attempt.
In-Flight Cell Phones / Air New Zealand / Cell Phones / WiFi / In-Flight WiFi / Airlines / Airline News / In-Flight Entertainment / → All Tags
It seems like the smarter our phones get, the less actual calling we do. And Air New Zealand seems to have figured this out, since they will be adding the ability to text, email and otherwise use your smartphone normally onboard their new Boeing 777-300s later this year. Except you can't make any voice calls.
This is in addition to Air New Zealand's coming long-haul in-flight WiFi on the new 777s, and the SkyCouch seats, so you could pretty much hold business as usual from your seats. Don't get too excited however; you'll still be paying international roaming on your phone bill, just as if you were on the ground in another country and texting and emailing away. And data roaming abroad can be a real pain in the arse.
Heading to the holy land for a whole lot of summer fun? If you're flying on El Al, and there's a very good chance you might be if you're going to Israel, then you get a free phone for use in the country!
The promotion comes directly from the airline, who are giving away 1,000 free Motorola V3 (aka the Razr) loaded with sixty free minutes to passengers holding roundtrip tickets to Israel with departures before June 30, 2010. You don't even have to give the phone back; it's yours to keep, along with the phone number in Israel, both to be used on any future trips to the country.
In-Flight Cell Phones / Oman Air / Cell Phones / In-flight WiFi / Airlines / Airline News / In-flight Entertainment / → All Tags
Oman Air first impressed us with their unnecessarily nice bathrooms, but now they are moving forward to ruin the entire flight experience—maybe. They are launching full mobile capabilities for first class, business, and economy customers. That means cell phones for all up in the skies. You’ll be welcome to text, tweet, and call all of your friends from your seat. Things should be up and running by the middle of February, which is just in time to apologize to your sweetie for not being home on Valentine’s Day.
In-flight WiFi is also coming to the airline’s entire fleet of Airbus A330s, but cell phones ringing throughout the cabin has us worried. We’ve heard some awful ring tones and text message alerts, and are really hoping that passengers leave things on silent. The airline does promise that the crews will control the services, and that the mobile magic can be limited during quiet times like overnight flights.
This past summer, our cell phone provider wouldn't unlock our phone so we could get a SIM card—damn you, T-Mobile—which made us incommunicado during our month-long trip to Italy. Sure, we tried using phone cards, but they aren't so easy to come by in some small Italian villages, and Internet access wasn't always readily available for us to jump on Skype. And while we vowed to troll craigslist to buy an unlocked phone, we found another alternative with TravelCell rentals.
The company provides rental phones to travelers in more than 200 countries, and a selling point is that all incoming calls are free. A bonus is that TravelCell ships the phone to you before you leave for your trip. It's nice to have one less thing to worry about as you prepare for your vacay, but it's a convenience you'll pay for; shipping is additional $10 or $20 for overnight delivery.
We’ve all been there. The flight attendant kindly asks everyone to turn off their electronic devices, but one person is just to cool for school and continues to text and tweet away. One woman did exactly this, but she obviously took it a little too far and wound up going to the big house for a couple hours.
It all started on a Southwest Airlines flight in Nashville last summer. The passenger was returning from Florida and wanted to let her kids know that she was safe and on her way home. Apparently a flight attendant asked her to turn off the phone, but then returned several times to reinforce his message, including two visits as the plane headed toward the runway. Maybe if it was the rapping flight attendant, she would have paid attention.
We try our very best to let you know how you’ll be able to access the web on your next flight, but we haven’t stumbled across a solution for your pesky cell phone—until now.
SpinVox has that solution somewhat figured out. The company has developed some fancy software to get your voicemail messages delivered right to your inbox. They take that extended two-minute message from your
grandma boss, convert it to text, and shoot it right to your email.
Sounds pretty slick, right? Well, we’re thinking that it’s not the must-have application of the year. Not only will you have to download the program and pony up a usage fee, but currently it’s only available to users of Alltel, Bell, and Vonage--so your iPhone ain’t going to cut it. Additionally, if you’re traveling about and need to get in touch with people, won’t they just email you directly anyway?
Regardless, we’re happy to hear about anything that can harness the mighty power of in-flight WiFi. If you were able to score a long-haul flight with WiFi, this service could definitely come in handy. So what do you think? Is this worth it, do you really need to check your voicemail in flight? Let us know in the comments.
Related Stories: [Photo: nechbi]
·SpinVox [Official Site]
·Alaska Air Starts WiFi Trials, Gives It Away For Free [Jaunted]
·WiFi coverage [Jaunted]
We aren't sure where exactly "managing multiple bulky chargers" goes on the Things That Make Vacations Suck list. But it has be fairly high, right? That goes double and triple if you're traveling with a partner or a family, where every person needs to carry and plug in a different phone charger.
With every new mobile phone purchased, another old, incompatible phone charger gets tossed out. On Tuesday, the GSM Association, which represents the mobile communications industry, promised to make that wasteful practice a thing of the past. The group said 17 mobile phone operators and device makers had agreed to standardize chargers by 2012 for most mobile phones. That means no matter what brand of phone you buy, the chargers should be interchangeable, making it possible to charge a phone from any available charger even if you leave yours at home. And you could use the same charger even when you get a new phone.
Cell Phones / Airport News / Travel News / Continental / Delta / American Airlines / Travel Tech / → All Tags
We never thought we'd see the day when all you physically needed to board a flight is your ID and your cell phone, especially since making calls on flights is still very much a no-no. But according to the Austin American-Statesman, US airlines like Delta, Continental and American are experimenting with checking in passengers via QR code, or those curious black-and-white nouveau barcodes.
Popular overseas but lagging in the States, the QR, or "Quick Reponse" code, is a digital mark which, once captured by a cell phone's camera, will redirect to a specific website. Reinterpreted for airline check-in, passengers will display the QR code on their cell phones, which will be scanned at security. No more paper, hallelujah!
The only thing more frustrating than trying to meet up with friends in a sea of a half-million people is trying to meet up with friends in a sea of a half-million people...without cell phone service.
That was the logistical nightmare that those attending yesterday's free inaugural kick-off concert for Barack Obama faced. And since spectator numbers are expected to quadruple for tomorrow's swearing-in, it's likely the situation will only get worse.
Wireless networks say that they have spent millions trying to increase capacity for the event, but you should still make your plans without factoring your cellphone into the equation.
Establish concrete meetup points for before and after the swearing-in as well as a gameplan for where to rendezvous in case of an emergency. The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association is also encouraging people to forego sending videos, pictures, and making calls, and to instead use text messages.
Of course, the pressing issue on our minds right now is will there be enough cell reception for the American public to send their SMS updates to Twitter? And will the networks be able to handle it? We know Twitter won't.[Photo: Alex Brandon/AP]