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Home > Air Safety > How could I lodge a complaint against a passenger for using the cell phone in flight?
How could I lodge a complaint against a passenger for using the cell phone in flight?
Aviation - Air Safety
Friday, 13 December 2013 17:46

FAA Green Lights Gadget Use During Entire Flight

Hi Capt Lim

I have always been a fan of your column in Travel 3Sixty. Thanks for all the very easy-to-understand information you imparted through those writings.

I am writing to you in the hope of getting your advice on how I should lodge a complaint about a fellow passenger on board the flight I was on.

I was flying in from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu on AK 5116 on 5/12. At 1815 hours, we were approaching Kota Kinabalu and right before extending the landing gears, I saw the male passenger on seat 25D turning on his iPhone. I observed him for a couple of minutes and then suddenly I realized the pilot increased power, nose-up and was heading for a go around.

At that moment I engaged that passenger and asked him to turn off his mobile. He then replied "where got?" and "how did you know it is dangerous?"

This very irresponsible act and his defensive remarks is very dangerous to other fellow passengers.

I am wondering how can I lodge a report and who could take action against him. This would at least serve him a warning or something so that he could be more responsible in the future!

Hope to hear from you.

Thanks

Lawrence Low

Hi Lawrence,

Thank you for your concern. Unfortunately, there are still some travellers who continue to ignore the instruction to refrain from using their phones in flight. As you may be aware, I have written a few times here about its likely dangers and also their potential interference with cockpit equipment.

So far, there is no clear evidence to suggest that it has caused any major disaster yet but it is better to be safe than to be sorry.

Basically, most electronic equipment have been designed to shield against any interference by phones but one never know its effect if too many mavericks decide to use their phones all at once. So, if the shielding is weak and if due to heavy interference, the protection could suffer, leading to problems.

Understandably, this policy is quite difficult to enforce at times. Yes you could submit a written complaint to the flight attendant or to the airlines but its effect would less effective than being told off in flight. At least you have done your part!

However, FAA has recently (31.10.13) announced that passengers will soon be able to watch videos and play games with their electronic devices throughout their entire flight and not just above 10,000 feet. The ban on using cell phones for voice communication remains in effect.

Several airlines (with proper shielding of the on-board electronic equipment) already provide in-flight Wi-Fi service, enabling passengers to use the Internet, email and text messaging. Worldwide,14 airlines have permitted the use of cell phones in flight. For example, Emirates allows passengers on its Airbus A380 to use cell phones in flight but the service would be shut off 250 miles from the edge of the United States’ airspace to comply with the FAA ban in the country.

This would probably be the trend in the future when cell phones would be allowed to be used in the flight at all times, that is, provided the planes have more advanced shielding technology in place.

PS. If you like what you read, more stories are found in my book LIFE IN THE SKIES (Preview here) and you can purchase a copy here. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my Twitter at @CaptKHLim 


Effect of Cell Phone

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Comments (2)

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737-400 VS 320-200
When I travel on MAS B737-400. I will definitely turn off my cell and follow instruction from FA. But in AA A320, come on guys, its the most advance airliner. What the heck cell phone can bring it down.
Levert , 16 Dec, 2013
...
Levert fool, Do you think the rules are there for a laugh? IT IS FOR OUR SAFETY. "most advanced airliner" yes- a whole heap of extra electrical equipment to be interfered with! Of course the chance of that happening is small, but it's a sad state of affairs when someone would risk that small percentage just because they don't know how to live without their cell fone for a few hours! Some people need to learn how to read a book and stop thinking they know better than the experts in the aviation industry.
grateful just to be able to fly , 23 Dec, 2013

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