For the last two weeks, I have been living sans cell phone, and not because I’ve given up cell phones for lent.  It’s more that my phone has given up on me.  Recently, my relationship with my phone has been strained, at best.

January- my numbers, videos, and pictures were hijacked into some realm of electronic prison. Gone. Unaccessable.

February- I inadvertantly catapulted the rectangular device across the aircraft galley, where it somersaulted and skidded to a stop, arriving not in its prior condition, but sporting a shattered screen.  Wups:/

Still working, I declined the offer to switch to an eBay $100 iPhone.  No way man! My phone was still functional, and $100 bucks gets me half-way to Europe….do airlines have stop overs mid-atlantic ocean?

March- My cell said, “I’ve finally had enough of you!”  Done.  Refused to charge.  Whatever.

April- My attitude of, “I don’t need you” lasted all of two weeks, but pretty impressive considering phones are like an internal organ to us these days, completely essential for our survival.  I could havce addressed the situation much sooner, but I went to yoga instead.  I went biking.  I read a book.  It’s all about priorities.  At least I’m zenned out, right?

As each day passes, my annoyance at my disconnection from the “real world” peaks and wanes; driving me nuts, making me feel free.  It also makes me feel the need to address the topic of cell phones, flying and why passengers need to turn off all electronic devices during flight.

Passenger:  Why do I have to turn off my cell phone, iPad… during flight?

Flight Attendant:  Because I said so

Just kidding.  I’m positive many a passenger, including Josh Duhamel and Alec Baldwin, have rolled their eyes at a flight attendant, thinking that the FA is simply on a power trip.  No.  Not the case.  I personally would rather not have to be the rule enforcer, feeling like a robot on repeat: “Turn off.  Stow bags. Trays up. Seatbelts buckled. Behave.”

So is it true that cell phones interfere with the aircraft navigation systems?

Short answer:  yes

The most critical phases of flight are below 10,000 feet, after take-off, and before landing.  It’s important for the navigational systems on the aircraft to be fulling functioning during these phases of flight, and when cell phones are on, the signals crossover with the airplane’s signals.  Yesterday, on my trip, the FO (aka: co-pilot), actually asked, “Did someone have a cell phone on during the approach?”  Umm…I don’t know.  We told em’, but we can’t control the fact that many passengers turn the devices back on once we walk away.  They try to be sneaky like that.

Another something to think about, let’s just say the FAA allowed cell phones on during flight.  Could you imagine how annoying that would be hearing the life sagas of the 100 plus people around you, and you have no choice but to sit their, strapped in and buckled up?  Please pass over a Xanax.

So, the temporary detachment from your phone will be tolerable.  I know firsthand that life without a phone for a spell is possible.  And also, we flight attendants appreciate it when you don’t throw attitude about the electronic devices.

Just a reminder Mr. Baldwin…

  • Aaron

    I’m not buying it. I think we can all attest to the fact that there are probably at least a dozen or so people each flight that either forget, or choose not to comply. I have also never seen any evidence to suggest that cell phones being powered on have caused any issues to communications – airplane wiring is shielded from commercial frequencies. If it is such a big deal, why allow them on the plane at all? It’s because of the cell phone companies! The towers cannot handle the velocity of speed in which the plane is moving against the constant handover of service switching from tower to tower. It has nothing to do with airplane communications…

    April 20th, 2012 20:20
    • Kara

      And, I have been one of those forgetful ones. From reading some articles about cellphones when I wrote this blog, Emirates allows cellphone use. And if you think about it, as soon as a plane touches the ground, cellphones may be used, but not when taxing for takeoff. The reason? So that passengers would be less distracted so that they would focus on the safety demo. So, yeah, I totally get what you are saying, the interference…most likely minimal. Maybe the laws/rules will change someday soon, just whatever your views, don’t take it out on the flight attendants when you travel. That’s all I ask:) Thanks for the comment

      April 20th, 2012 21:27

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