On a recent trip to Hawaii on
cheap discount airline ATA, an iPhone-toting traveler named Craig sparked a snit from a flight attendant when he had the audacity to safely operate an electronic device while in-flight. Despite the demonstrated use of the iPhone’s “airplane mode” — an interference-free setting common on most smartphones — it wasn’t long before the battle of wills escalated.
Police were called, but after hearing out both sides of the story (and the attendant’s sudden assertions that that particular plane has a kryptonite-esque weakness against cell phones), Craig was free to go… with a great story to post on the Internet.
Even though the “MythBusters” largely dismissed the threat that gadgets pose to airplanes, and even though most airlines (and, I’d wager, flight attendants) are hip to the “airplane mode” thing, it’s generally not a good idea to argue with anyone on an airplane these days. No matter how right you are, your “moral victory” may come only after some uncomfortable encounters with federal agents and rubber gloves.
Especially since, in this case, Craig was largely fighting for his right to watch “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”
But as one commenter at the Consumerist put it, “A flight attendant on a power trip who resents not being listened to in his little aluminum kingdom does not get to be a tinpot dictator.”