Cell Phone Conflict

October 19, 2009

in Attendant & Pilot Stories

I was flying US Air, going home to Seattle from Atlanta for Thanksgiving. First of all I’m already mad that I have to pay $15 to check my bag. Now I am playing video games on my Cell Phone which has the option to shut the phone and wireless off and just use the computer portion like if I was using a Laptop. This is the reason I purchased the phone to begin with. I liked this feature, I am not a fan of flying anyway. I liked to have something to do during landing.

The 50 something male FA saw me playing my game, and because my Phone is a flip phone it looked like I had my phone on, which I didn’t. He told me that I needed to shut my phone off and sit in my seat and be quiet until we landed. I smiled at him and said “Well, my phone is off it is just the computer that is on and I don’t believe I am bothering anyone.” He proceeded to tell me my phone was on and I needed to shut it off or he would have to call security when we got to the gate.

I had to explain to him the reason I purchased the phone was because I could shut off the phone part. He told me that cell phones don’t work that way and I didn’t know what I was talking about, I was just choosing to not follow the rules. I smiled then and said “Well gramps, if you feel that strongly about it we can talk to security at the gate when we land, and they can explain how cell phones work.”

Lucky there was a computer techy guy sitting across the aisle from me who proceeded to explain to him how new models of cell phones worked. I wasn’t bothered for the rest of the flight nor did he bother me on the connecting flight that we were both on as well.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Demotage October 19, 2009 at 6:04 pm

There are a couple a few things I don't get about this story. First, even if the FA was not tech savvy, I believe that if you'd spoken to him in that manner, he would indeed have introduced you to security at the gate. Even when they are (rarely) in the wrong, to disregard the orders of flight crew in such a disagreeable manner would have likely have landed you in detention.

Second, although it was not explicit in the story, it sounds like you may have had your gamer on during landing. Whether the phone is off or not, they don't allow any electronic devices on during landing. This actually has less to do with the idea that it interferes with aircraft communication and more with the idea that they want you paying attention and unencumbered during landing so you can hear the announcements and so in the case of evacuation you can hear.

Third, this must have happened during a very short time window 2 years ago when the iPhone was first introduced. These days, all fight attendants know about the ‘flight’ mode on cell phones. The instruction to turn off the ‘phone part’ of your cell phone is now a standard part of the pre-flight safety lecture.


guest April 11, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Was the "fight attendants" a freudian slip? 😉


EB October 19, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Isn't this more of an "I win" story than a flight from hell?


TM October 20, 2009 at 9:39 am

Reading your submission, you come across as arrogant, or one of those people who is out to prove that the rules don't apply to you, or that you are looking for a good fight.

Ok, maybe the phone part DOES turn off. So what? Are you really THAT put out that you cannot be inconvenienced for just a few minutes? Minutes that "MIGHT" be critical to your safety? You had all that time during your flight to enjoy your video game. Surely you could put it away for a few minutes. Or could you?

Maybe the flight crew isn't as computer savvy as you are. After politely explaining to the attendant that your gadget supposedly is in compliance, if they STILL ask you to turn it off, what is the point of arguing about it? Why not just shake your head, chuckle a little, turn it off, put it away, and don't worry about it? What is making a huge scene really going to prove? That you are a jackass?


Jodi October 20, 2009 at 11:28 am

What a jerk! I mean come on really?!?! Is this for real?

TURN THE PHONE OFF AND SIT DOWN. Sheesh. Where’s your mother, I need to talk to her. She apparently didn’t raise you right.


madachode October 21, 2009 at 11:19 am

Listen, the announcements say "Turn off all electronic devices" quit complaining. Next time don't leave your house, kill yourself.


TC October 22, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Ah yea, you need to pay attention during the landing and not play games on the phone.


ps October 23, 2009 at 3:19 am

50 something male? Okay we can see the attitude already. He had some nerve asking you to part with your little game. Is that like a security blanket for you? Did you text your displeasure to the airline?


Luna August 11, 2015 at 12:35 am

Attitude much?


Amberlee October 27, 2009 at 9:57 am

well first I am a flight attendant for US Airways and i didnt know we had direct flts from ATL-SEA…Maybe u were ATL-CLT-SEA seeing as how ATL is Delta's hub and not ours…anyways… is your cell phone THAT important? Does it hold more value then your life? Next time, just turn it off…why must passengers challenge the FA's??


FrFl November 23, 2009 at 7:00 am

Actually, a FA put explained this to me once. Something like;

"I know the reciever is off. But if something happens during take-off or landing, I will need your full and complete attention right away. I will not have the time to walk up and yank your headphones off, so please shut it completely off."


Luna August 11, 2015 at 12:35 am



Maggie May 13, 2015 at 9:55 pm

Would you like to be on a flight that wouldn't leave the gate until all the passengers had their chance to explain — in great detail to the FA — why THEY should be able to leave their own certain type of personal electronics on too? No? Then shut up and turn it off so everyone can get going!


Luna August 11, 2015 at 12:37 am

I was reading something on the Internet..can someone tell me if its true or not?
I read that cells don't actually cause crashes it's just annoying for the pilots and they may miss something important.


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