Jet2 pull plane apart to find passenger's mobile phone

21 October 2009

Bitterwallet -'s Phillip Meeson

You know that bit on aeroplanes where they insist that you switch off your mobile phone before take off? The bit that has us all sullenly muttering: ‘Bugger off; what harm can it REALLY do? All that stuff about interfering with the controls is just a big bunch of old bollocks…’

Well the airlines must be perpetuating the most elaborate lie on the planet then. Turns out there could be something in it after all. Because if a switched-on mobile got lost on a plane, an airline wouldn’t bother to dismantle part of said plane in order to get it back if it wasn’t important, would they?

Hmm… well that’s precisely what Jet2 staff did recently when a passenger dropped their phone into an air vent ahead of take off on a Newcastle-bound flight from Murcia. The cockpit area and front row of seats were pulled apart, leading to a three-hour delay while the phone was retrieved and turned off, in case it interfered with the plane’s control and diverted the metal sky bird straight into the heart of the sun.

Of course, we assume they would have done the same thing for the passenger who had lost their phone when it had already been switched off. They would, wouldn't they?

Later, a Jet2 spokesdroid did an apology and said something about safety before reiterating some stuff about mobile phones on planes. Just once, we’d love it if they communicated with us with sock puppets or via an ancient and outmoded form of Chinese folk dance. They never do though. They never, ever do.


TOPICS:   Travel   Mobile


  • DavtT
    I hope the passenger who lost his phone in the vent was charged the cost of the delay
  • Rubisco
    and then given a severe "talking to" by the other passengers after they got off the plane...
  • Rich
    I hope the passenger isn't charged as this kerfuffle sounds completely unnecessary - and it's very easy to drop things when crammed on a plane seat while juggling your possessions you've got ready for the flight, with little room to put anything down. I hope they reconsider the design of the planes if there are vents you can hide electronic devices in... By the way, I 'put all of your lives at risk' everytime I get on a plane, as I like to see how high you can get before the signal goes :-)
    • Andy D.
      @Rich - What's your personal best? Have you got a graph you could share with us?
  • TomTG
    I don't think it should be possible to drop a phone through an air vent on an aeroplane, unless the vent was in some way broken. Judging by the state of some of Jet2's (over 20 year old) aircraft, this wouldn't surprise me at all. I know that BillerWallet seem to quite like Jet2, but some of their aircraft are in a god-awful state internally.......
  • CompactDstrxion
    Rich, despite the fact it's a mobile phone anyway, all personal electronic devices should be switched off during take-off and landing for your own safety...
  • Gunn
    There must be some myth to it though. Has anyone done studies on this? Some modern phones have a mode called "Flight mode" which basically turns off all the signal transmitting, but I've heard from the cabin crew annoucements that your not even allowed to have the phone on "Flight mode". ?!
  • Inactive
    Glad some people can get a signal in the sky, I can't get a signal in my living room. UK 2009.
  • ElBuc
    I have left mine on by accident lots of times
  • Rich
    @CompactDst...Distr... @'Compact': So I'm told. But it's never brought the plane down, and turbulence hasn't embedded any of my gadgets in me yet. @ Andy: Not sure about the height, but got just over 3 minutes of signal after take-off last time (London -> L.A.) - although my phone is sometimes a little slow to report signal change. Not the most scientific of tests, but my testament of surviving every plane journey I've ever had must mean something. ;-)
  • Colin
    There may be aviation rules regarding having the phone turned off - but that's just for 'safety'. It's pretty much the same as me saying you're not allowed wine on my aircraft because you might force the pilot to have a drink with you, and get him too drunk to fly. There's a limited potential for the phone to cause a malfunction, but as all the machinery is designed resist failure you've got more likelihood of making your TV/Sky box/PC crash using your mobile phone, and that's not exactly common either (but again, possible, just less so than a plane). If anything, it's probably just so they can say 'we told them not to!' in the unlikely event it did cause a crash. I actually heard that originally 'all electronic devices' (like CD players) were banned because the aviation people took the electromagnetic measurements from a CD player, then multiplied it by the number of passengers, and saw a huge number that would fry everything on board or something, when it doesn't really work like that. Nokia regularly charter flights for all their executives on jumbo jets where they'll just keep using their phones while buzzing around in the sky, and none of them have crashed.
  • Tim
    Reading comments from pilots on airline forums, the only real issue is pilots get that buzzing noise on their headsets occasionally, same as many of us do if a phone is too near a loud speaker. It's an annoyance to them mainly. The only safety issue is being distracted by it when talking to air traffic control. Interesting that on one flight I was on they not only detected a mobile that was switched on but directed the crew to the exact seat where it was. How they managed that I don't know. Mobiles are actually safe inside a plane, hence why there are plans to fit cell transmitters in the plane so they can charge passengers £10 a minute for using them. The only modification they'd need to make is to shield the cockpit so the mobile signals don't interfere with the cockpit radio.
  • KC
    Regardless of the effect, why don't passengers simply do as they are told? Cabin Crew and Flight Deck follow and implement rules and guidelines set by Aviation Aurthouries and Aircraft Manufactures.

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