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Using the N91 on a plane

February 6th, 2007 by abhishta

Roberto Nunes from Forum Nokia Blogs talks about his experience with using the Nokia N91 on a plane.

I really don’t mind about the banning of cell phones on planes. I don’t believe that a cell phone can really mess up with anything on a plane. (If that was true we would see plane crashes every day, or you really believe that everybody remembers to turn them off). And cell phones wont work anyway in most flights and everybody talking in such a crowded place will be probably awful.

But how about “multimedia computers”. I have a N91 and I really want to use it in flights without having to disguise it. An flight attendant make me turn it off just because she saw the name Nokia in the headphone clip. I tried to explain that I put it offline and now it is only an MP3 player but she insisted. She told me that some phones has a flight mode and even those have to be turned off (what is the point to have a flight mode?).

In another flight I told the flight attendant that my N91 wasnt a phone, “Nokia just launch a line of MP3 Players”. I show the closed N91 (thus, she could not see the dialing keys) and she let me use it.

As soon as this music phones became popular I will probably have a hard time trying to use them. Why the guy next to me can use his notebook without bothering to turn the WI-FI off and I cant use a my N91 or a E62?

I wander if consumers or cell phone manufactories can do something about it.

I’ve had similar experiences as well where I’ve been told to turn off my phone and all my attempts to tell the airline crew about the phone’s offline mode were in vain. Ever since then, I use the remote control and I keep the phone in my pocket. People think its a small mp3 player . 😀

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  • kballs

    It’s really a mess of rules. FCC rules overlapping FAA rules overlapping individual airline policies.

    Many airlines make it a policy to force passengers to turn their phones “completely off”. This is in complete awareness of “flight mode” features of phones. They really just don’t want to have to train their flight attendants to know how to verify flight mode on a multitude of devices or take the time to do it, even though there are always phones left on accidentally on almost every flight. It’s also easy to intentionally leave your phone on, simply by stowing it… even if it’s out, as long as the screen is off the flight attendants won’t care. If you have a laptop with built-in HSPDA/CDMA (very common now), flight attendants also won’t care (whether you’re using the wireless or not).

    It simply comes down to form factor… small devices are all starting to look like and absorb features of cell phones and vice-versa. If you want to use one of these on a plane (with the wireless features turned off), then you’re at the mercy of ignorant flight crews and their airlines’ lazy, paranoid, conservative policies. If you want to use your laptop (even nefariously with HSPDA on), nobody will care. Of course laptops and cell phones are blurring their boundaries (with big rich-featured PDA phones that look like mini-laptops, and UMPCs), flight crews will find it impossible to tell who is violating the antique FAA rules (which are already way behind if you look at the list of banned devices – which include things that only receive signal and can’t possibly cause direct radio interference).

    We are heading [slowly] toward one of the two scenarios:
    1. an all-out ban on electronics that aren’t provided by the airline (built into the seats or portable units for rent)
    2. an all-out un-ban of everything (once they retire all the old planes that aren’t shielded against in-cabin radio interference)

    Because it’s impossible to bucketize all the new converged gadgets into banned and non-banned categories, they will have to ban or un-ban everything at once.