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Mon, Oct 15, 2007

Passenger Says ATA Harassed Him For iPhone Use

FA Didn't Accept "Airplane" Mode

An ATA passenger says he was harassed by a flight attendant, and almost arrested by police, for using an iPhone to watch a movie while on a recent flight to Hawaii.

The passenger, who was only identified by his first name Casey, got a scare from ATA flight attendants and the police. The iPhone has an "airplane mode" that disables cell phone, radio, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth signals, thus allowing you to watch movies... but that didn't stop flight attendants from creating a scene.

"I recently was traveling to Hawaii on ATA airlines and took my iPhone along for the trip. During the first two hours of my five hour flight I was listening to music using the ipod function of my phone," Casey said, according to the website Consumerist.com.

"The iPhone was sitting on my tray table in front of my seat, in plain sight. Then I decided to watch a movie. So I fired up the classic "I Know What You Did Last Summer", a movie I had never seen before. About one-and-a-half hours into this cinematic masterpiece I had a flight attendant try to get my attention.

"I paused the movie and looked to see what the flight attendant wanted. He said something to the effect of "you can't use a cell phone in flight". OK, that makes sense, so I assured him that I had the phone in airplane mode and that all cell, wifi and Bluetooth was off.

"He again said "you have to stop using it" I assured him that I had the phone in airplane mode and that all cell, wifi and Bluetooth was off. An additional flight attendant comes to talk to me and then she runs off and comes back with a HUGE book of FAA rules."

"So we start our descent and I turn my iPhone off, because I follow REAL FAA rules," added Casey. "We land and there are police waiting for me, the flight attendant that started this whole thing. Then the police take me off the flight and to a waiting area. I explain everything that happened, they go and talk to the male flight attendant. I see him waving his arms and looking very angry and animated."

After explaining the situation to the police, Casey was released. "The police officer looked confused, and said he would be right back. He talked to the guy again and then came back and said that the airplane is not shielded for ONLY phones in airplane mode. The police sorta laughed and said wait one second, they went and talked to him, he got really upset and left. Then they came back to me and said I was free to go."

"I have never been harassed by someone so much as that flight attendant. He was very rude to me the whole flight, lied about FAA rules, and changed his story to police three times. I took a Southwest flight later in the week, they have it clearly written in the in-flight magazine that airplane mode is fine over 10,000 feet."

FMI: What Apple Has To Say On Using the iPhone Inflight

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