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What is up with these Delta 2 cell phone people who don’t turn off cell service at takeoff? (a rant)

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


folks who dont shut off cell phones at takeoff make me nuts

I have been flying for the better part of three days as of right now and have had two ladies in a row, both of them working for banks, with 2 cell phones each. They were both VERY loud talkers so I had to put my noise canceling headphones on right away once I took my seat just to not get a headache.

But what really steamed me is these kinds of people who just totally ignore the devices in non- transmitting mode once the boarding door closes. The first lady, who worked for Barclays bank, not only had two phones but a tablet that was on as well so she had 3 devices on the whole time. The one I am now sitting next to went from dual texting until she lost cell service to jumping on GoGo with both devices.

Now first off I am personally in the camp that there is no issue using your cell phone whenever you want on a plane but those are currently NOT the rules nor am a tech person who knows one way or the other if doing so really DOES put the jet at risk. So, since I am told to turn my phone off, I do. I follow the direction of the crew.

But clearly a ton of folks don’t. One of my most favorite lines from an FA was something like:

“Please make an effort to pretend you have turned off your cell phone and put it in airplane mode”

And is that not the truth of the matter. I mean really folks. At this point “they” say it is dangerous and can have an effect on the jet so lady you are potentially impacting my life by keeping your many phones on during takeoff. I will bet you “bankers money” she will turn them both back on as soon as GoGo cuts off.

Can anything be THAT important?

The first Barclay’s lady kept talking long after the door closed and I was shocked that the FA’s let her keep yammering on as we started to push back (it could have been because she was in DelatONE transcon but to me rules are rules no matter who you are). Plus, having heard most of her conversation through my headphones, nothing she said was very important.

You tell me please. What would you do? Do you say something to the FA? Do you make it uncomfortable to sit next to your seat mate for the next many hours? Does it matter to have non transmitting cell phones and tablets and are they a risk? – René
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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

20 Comments

  1. How about spilling your pre-boarding drink all over her three devices?

  2. I just ignore those requests I assume everyone else does as well. I do turn off cellular once we start trundling down the runway.

  3. IMHO it’s not about magnetic interference or so, but the goal is to have people’s attention during takeoff.

  4. i have seen a lady removed from a flight for just that. I would just end the call. Not even that serious.

  5. AlohaDaveKennedy Reply

    Jeez – the lady was a Barclays banker! Would you rather have her loudly blabbing on the phone or stealing money from you by rigging LIBOR rates?

  6. Or those that don’t put their seat back up and you are behind them – definite safety issue, but annoying beeeeep!!!

  7. Put yourself in her shoes. She probably has a boss who is expecting her availability.

    It doesn’t matter how important *she* thinks it is. We all have managers (even those of us in very highly paid positions) who have expectations about our availability. Consider for a moment that maybe all she wanted to do was kick back and relax on the flight — but her boss had other ideas.

    Nothing stinks more (and I’ve had this happen) then landing after a 5 hour flight to six angry e-mails / texts from your boss asking why you didn’t call Joe (about something pretty minor) before you took off.

  8. Rene!

    the real news here is you cleared an upgrade on DELTA ONE TRANSCONTINENTAL SERVICE!!!

    how was the flight service???

  9. A bucket of water and some unexpected turbulence would take care of the problem.

  10. I saw an article about the cell phone interference with the pilots. One pilot stated that turning on cell phones before landing creates a bit of static, so they cannot hear the control tower’s instructions;resulting in an aborted landing and have to try again.

  11. Randall Meullier Reply

    Rules are rules! Simple as that. Like it or not. Life is full of rules and regulations that we might not like. There’s nothing that ruins a first class upgrade for me than a bunch of captains of industry trying to out do each other with their importance.

  12. Ignoring the cell phone rules seems like another manifestation of DYKWIA syndrome. If it was blatant I’d notify the airline that the FAs weren’t enforcing the rules.

  13. This makes me long for the days of no cell phone usage allowed at all on planes (and it was enforced, too). Ah! Peace and quiet! Somehow we all managed to “survive” being out of contact for a while……

  14. I was seated next to a Delta FA on a Delta flight recently and she kept using her phone in non-airplane mode till the last second before the plane starting revving up the engines for the takeoff run…. I felt tempted to do the same, but decided not to dig out my phone and copy her to see how the on-duty FAs reacted 🙂

  15. I hate people invoking “DYKWIA” syndrome on events like this, as if ignoring the rules means you don’t think they apply to you.

    There are plenty of us who ignore the rules (any rules, not just cell phone rules) not because we think we’re special and they shouldn’t apply to us, but because we think they’re stupid and they shouldn’t apply to anybody.

  16. Corbett Kroehler Reply

    Richard Anderson himself said on The Charlie Rose Show a few months before the current rule was implemented by the FAA that the scientific method used by the FAA was thorough. In other words, there is a danger and the flight attendants need to enforce the rules. Luckily, in my case, I almost never find scofflaws near me but the FAs also enforce well.

  17. Rene, Maybe you could have said to the banker you will stop recommending Barclay’s credit card. “If Barclay’s employees feel they can ignore airline regulations, what confidence can I have they will comply with financial regulations?” would be my conversation with her.

    And for those commenters on this site who “ignore” the flight attendants’ command to turn your devices to airplane mode, please comply. Who the heck are you to think your conversations or texts are so important that you get to break the safety rules. If you are that important, charter your own plane.

  18. I read a comment from a commercial pilot recently that cell phones can interfere with the altitude readings and can actually alter them upon approach for landing. I definitely didn’t like the sound of that and will remember that when I see fools ignore the rules during cloudy approaches into SLC and other mountainous areas.

  19. I don’t want to be on the plane that just one too many devices were not in airplane mode and the pilots have a problem. I have seen and heard one passenger tell another to turn their cell phones off, one almost coming to blows. And, shouldn’t your boss know you are flying and, thus, will be unavailable for a period of time?

  20. Betty McKissock Reply

    I’ve had similar experiences both in the Sky Lounge with loud people on cell phones and on planes. My daughter is a pilot and she say there isn’t much impact on the navigation of the plane but it causes a lot of irritation and hate and discontent among passengers. Cut the darned things off folks. You rights end where my ears begin. Noise canceling earphones only go so far but I use them and an eye mask to try and shut it out.

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