Most people don't want to make calls on a plane

8 September 2010

airline-pilotI once had a conversation with a barber who told me he cut the hair of an airline pilot. One of the things he'd learned from him was "the reason they don't let you use your phone on a plane is because they're an annoyance. If they made the plane crash, they would take 'em off you before you even got on. A terrorist wouldn't need to twat about with bombs and that... they'd just send someone a text."

He then added a nice story about how the crash position we're told to adopt is to "kill you quicker. AND it impales your head on your spine so they can identify bodies easier." I was going on holiday the next day and puked the entire journey.

On the topic of phones on a plane, it seems that the majority of Brits actually don't want regulations on in-flight phone usage relaxed, despite the fact that the regulations were actually relaxed ages ago.

Someone conducted a survey in an attempt to drum up some business for themselves, who we're peevishly not crediting here (but The Reg, have), asked more than 1500 people if they "welcomed the change in legislation that allows passengers to use their mobile phones".

Basically, a big chunk of people didn't want their flights disturbed by people chattering away like idiots on trains. It seems that our inability to make calls in the air is a commercial issue rather than a regulatory one.

Basically, the only reason why we don't have the ability to do it currently is because airlines can't be arsed fitting something called a femtocell (which is a tiny base station and sounds like a treatment for female thrush) and a satellite uplink to carry the calls.

A femtocell costs airlines money every time a phone registers with the network. Airlines don't want to induce a cost unless there's a massive demand for it - which there isn't as over half of people over-35 have flatly stated that they don't want in-flight calling.

It does mean, however, that if you leave your phone on by accident, you don't have to shit your pants with fear.

TOPICS:   Technology   Mobile   Travel


  • Scarborian
    I love the bit when they ask you not to turn your phone on until you get inside the terminal, over the bleeps of a hundred phones being turned on....
  • Nobby
    I'm on a plane, yeah, a plane, I'm on a plane, really, I am on a plane, in the air, yeah a plane, cloud, oooh, can you still hear me, I'm on a plane, in the air, speak up a bit, I can't hear you as I'm on a plane.
  • Nobby
    As to turning them back on, I rarely bother to turn mine off when flying. I've left it turned on in the pocket of my coat loads of times and I can never be arsed to stand up, get the coat out the overhead locker, and switch it off.
  • Nigel
    It's obvious they are not a danger to the electronics or as you mention in the post there is no way we would be allowed to take them on board. I never turn mine off either.
  • Laurz
    The crash position is the safest position to be in during a crash*, you are far less likely to suffer serious neck, head or back injuries in this position and less likely to be knocked unconscious. In fact the main danger with survivable plane crashes is that you will most likely break your legs which will leave you unable to escape a fire, well that or ending up in the window seat with a 20 stone fat f*** blocking your exit. *Actually the safest position to be in is in the stewardess' chair that faces backwards. In this position you have a far greater chance of survival which begs the question why don't ALL seats face the rear of the plane?
  • Mark C.
    Either your barber or the pilot was taking the piss then, as there's a shitload of scientific evidence that proves the brace position reduces injuries in a plane crash. Or perhaps you've just watched Fight Club too many times.
  • KTF
    @Laurz If all the seats were to face backwards that would imply that flying was 'unsafe' and airlines are not keen to push that message. I guess you could argue that it would put the crew at more risk as they would then have to face forward instead of backwards but then they do have 4 point belts. Interesting thread on it here:
  • markymark
    I met a trolley dolly at a dinner party once, no I really did, and she said the "brace brace" position was to protect the teeth, because identifying bodies by dental records is cheaper than DNA profiling.
  • TeflonMan
    Not too worried about the brace position in Economy: When I start leaning forward in that way, my forehead comes to rest firmly on the top of the seat in front of me ... How short do you actually have to be to adopt this position in 31" of seat pitch?
  • Joff
    So if we do leave our phones on we can argue that Mof's barber said so? Keep an eye out for me on the next series of Airport.
  • Joff
    markymark - I know you're lying. No trolly dolly has ever heard of DNA profiling.
  • carl
    hmm - don't know how it would be a nuisance, as you can't get a signal with o2 anywhere above clouds.

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment