The inability to last a few hours without a Blackberry or iPhone is now the number-one reason for bad passenger behavior when flying the not-so-friendly skies.
Incidents of customer misconduct increased for the third year in a row, reaching more than 1,300 in 2011, the Wall Street Journal reports. Flight attendants say the refusal to turn off electronic devices are the top cause. The behavior got a celebrity spokesperson during “planegate” in December 2011 when Alec Baldwin got into an altercation with American Airlines staff over his refusal to end a game of Words With Friends. The actor later apologized.
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Federal regulations require cell phones and other devices be turn off as soon as the aircraft door closes, and the cabin crew has the right to remove those who do not comply (as in the case of Baldwin) or ground the flight until the situation is resolved.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the kibosh on in-flight tweeting is for our own safety. The 800 MHz frequency most cell phones and wireless devices use could potentially disrupt onboard instruments. The science on of the so-called cell phone ban is, at best, divided; we all know someone who has innocently (or not so innocently) ignored the repeated calls to turn off our gadgets without causing the flight to fall from the sky.
A 2006 report from Carnegie Mellon University found cell phone signals used in flight could interfere with GPS systems. In a much less scientific study, flight crews have reported everything from radio static to false alarms on collision-avoidance systems, but these effects could not be duplicated in controlled lab testing.
If you don’t wanted to get booted from your flight or face the wrath of the person sitting in 19B, just turn your device off. NewsFeed promises the Internet will still be there once you land. Unless you suffer from “nomophobia,” the fear of being without your mobile phone (yes, it’s real) — then maybe you can get a doctor’s note.