View Full Version : Just What Is Allowed?

4th Jul 2008, 06:41
On a recent Ryanair flight I was told to turn my digital pocket camera off during take-off as it was electronic. I was surprised or ignorant.

Does electronic mean hearing aids, quartz watches, mp3 players, hand-held games machines?

I can understand banning the use of mobiles and laptops, as I regard them as transmission devices.

The irony of it all is that mobiles will be allowed eventually.

4th Jul 2008, 08:36
The meaning of turning all that stuff off is that you should be 100% focused in case of an emergency... it has nothing to do with that it could interfere with aircraft systems...

4th Jul 2008, 09:16
The meaning of turning all that stuff off is that you should be 100% focused in case of an emergency... it has nothing to do with that it could interfere with aircraft systems...

So something like, oh lets say, a book wouldn't provide any distraction then??

As far as I understand the ostensible reasoning is to do with interference with avionics.
There was a study done (can't remember who/where though, but I think it was in the US at least) into mobile phones and avionics interference - it showed that there was no effect.

In a light aircraft there is a possible effect when the equipment is so close to the avionics.
In addition if a mobile phone was on at altitude then it would be able to communicate with multiple cells of the network, which wouldn't be likely to work very nicely.

The particular one that puzzles me is not allowing any GPS navigation equipment on a flight. Bizarre...it's not as if they transmit now is it? Although technically if the aerial was close enough to an aircraft's GPS aerial it would interfere.

west lakes
4th Jul 2008, 09:48
11c) Using electronic devices on board the aircraft

For safety reasons, we may decide not to allow you to use electronic devices when you are on board the aircraft, including:

mobile phones
laptop computers
personal recorders
personal radios
MP3, cassette and CD players
electronic games or
transmitting devices (for example, radio-controlled toys and walkie-talkies).You must not use these items when we have told you that they are not allowed.

We will allow you to use hearing aids and heart pacemakers.

The above is a section from the Conditions of Carriage of a major British airline.

When you buy a ticket you enter into a contract to which both partiies agree. If you buy a ticket on line you will have to check or tick a box to say you agree to them.

The ailine to transport you from A-B subject to these terms and us SLF to pay for this service and accept that we will abide to these terms.

If it goes wrong there seems to be plenty of people will complain to the airline if they break the terms of the contract (and it is not often that they do) but seem to think it is OK for them, the SLF, to not abide to their side of the contract.

Though reading some posts on here I wonder how many actually read, and understand, these Conditions

Skipness One Echo
4th Jul 2008, 10:13
It's a Ryanair hosty for God's sake lol. Been there done that. Sit a few seats away from either end of the cabin and wait until they're sat down for take off. be discrete, and I don't think in all honesty anything bad will result. Really.

jetset lady
4th Jul 2008, 12:27
Well done Skipness One Echo. Just the sort of response we needed! :ugh:

As west lakes has pointed out, you have entered into a contract with the airline and are thereby bound by that contract. Who the hell are you to think that you are so important that the rules to should apply to everyone but you? As for nothing bad happening, do you really want to take that chance when sat in a tin can hurtling along a runway at 175 mph? If the answer is yes, then I pray to God you never get on one of my flights.

And for the record, people that think that mobile phones have no effect on the flight are wrong. Have you ever heard the noise made when your phone is near a computer or radio when a text/call comes in? That's what the flight crew hear in their headsets and apart from the distraction it causes them, it can also mean they miss transmissions from ATC. Not ideal I think you'll agree.

As for your last statement about waiting until the crew have sat down and then discreetly switching whatever item it is that you can't live without, back on...:mad:


P.S. Don't assume that we will not notice, no matter how clever you think you are. I have a couple of passengers from a flight recently who are now convinced that I'm a witch as I caught them out 3 times on the taxi out to the runway. They have no idea how I knew and I'm certainly not going to tell you but we have our ways! :E

4th Jul 2008, 13:02
Cabin crew arent going to be experts on every electronic device ever invented so its the simple route - everything off.

As to mobile phone safety, much discussed on these forums - but if Airlines can now make money by allowing passengers to use them - that suggests something.

Skipness One Echo
4th Jul 2008, 13:37
I always thought that if a mobile phone was capable of interfering with the performance of an aircraft it would be a prohibited item in the cabin. Simple as. I mean if nail clippers can take someone's eye out and they're way too dangerous to be allowed, a small gadget that can make the entire plane crash is surely more dangerous. Go figure.
However there's never been an incident where a digital camera has caused noticeable interference as far as I know. We just have a big old nanny state in the UK.
Jetset lady a link to a report on ATC interference from mobile phones please? I imagine the Tels engineers are thorough so there should be a few on the 'net.

I have flown Ryanair rather a lot recently as they fly to PIK and no one else does, advice from a Ryanair hosty generally gets a laugh as most of em can't even bark in English. Only airline I've ever flown on where passengers take the piss during the safety demo cos the hosty is hopeless.

4th Jul 2008, 14:23
You can't turn everything electronic off - pacemakers, for instance! Even modern pacemakers with radios inside. They will, in the event of what is called a 'Medical Event Emergency' start transmitting. The power level is very low, though only 25 microwatts. Hearing aids are interesting,because latest technology hearing aids are also using radio transmitters. The power levels are low enough that the CAA aren't worried - I have an official email confirming that. It's more dangerous, I would have thought, to have a passenger who can't hear instructions. Watches are of such low power that they aren't covered by the US FCC Part 15 rules - I'm not sure about European EMC rules.

Then there's other interesting electronic medical devices that you really want to keep going, such as insulin pumps, sphincter controllers, nerve stimulators for controlling Parkinson's disease and the like.

One of these areas where it needs a bit of common sense to be applied. But as more personal medical devices incorporate radio, it could be a perception rather than a physical problem.

4th Jul 2008, 14:24
Some of the newer cameras now come with Bluetooth for easier downloading, and since this is a "transmitter" (even low powered) I guess it's a case of better safe than sorry...

jetset lady
4th Jul 2008, 14:36
Skipness One Echo,

I don't need a report on interference. I've experienced it myself when in the flight deck for landing on a recent flight and I admit to being suprised myself at just how loud it was. I would invite you up to hear it for yourself but I think that may just land me in a whole heap of other trouble! That was just one mobile, imagine 100 odd going off at the same time. It would be impossible to prohibit mobile phones being allowed on board at all, as they are accepted as an essential tool of business and the majority of passengers carry them. If we insisted on them all being placed in the hold, even if the passenger were carrying no other hold baggage, can you just imagine the scene at the baggage reclaim conveyor belt? We have to, therefore, go on the assumption that we are all adults, have agreed to the terms and conditions of flight and can be trusted to follow the rules.

I do agree with you regards nail clippers and the such, especially as we carry glasses and bottles on board. However, like it or not, they are the rules that you have to follow if you want to go anywhere by air. With regards to cameras, I have to say, I have never asked someone not to use a camera, unless they are upsetting others around them. After all, we would never even have thought of a camera as an electrical item until the advent of the digital camera. I tend to think along the lines that, if you are looking around for things to photograph, then you are probably more aware of what's going on around you than someone who is playing an electric game. Unfortunately, when it comes down to it, the rules are not black and white all of the time. Is a camera considered an electrical device or not? I would say not, others would say it is. Not a lot of help, I know! Maybe it's time that the rules were reviewed and brought up to date.

Passengers that take the pxxs during safety demos are just out right idiots and shouldn't be allowed out of the house unaccompanied. I usually find that the suggestion that it would be really, really funny for them to carry on joking around back on the airbridge as they watch us take off usually works. And I don't make empty threats either!


Skipness One Echo
4th Jul 2008, 16:06
I'm not denying what you are saying I'm just keen to see a report on interference on VHF Comms by a standard hand held mobile phone device. Always reminds me of the fact you aren't supposed to use them at petrol filling stations either and there's not been a scrap of proof that they are a source of concern. It's complete over-reaction.
Let's face it, you're trusted to evacuate a plane load of people but you CANNOT be trusted to take a yoghurt through security. I liked the line about threatening passengers with watching the take off from the air bridge, there's a few flights where I wish that had been done......

4th Jul 2008, 16:49
The business with 'phones and filling stations has been discussed before. A load of BS. like so many of the RF radiation hazard scares, it's whipped up by a lot of hysteria from those failing to understand what they're talking about. There have been quite a few papers published about igniting fuel with sparks caused by transmitters, and there are some British Standards on the subject, although I can't remember the numbers. At mobile 'phone powers, you can't get enough energy.

Those people too rude to pay attention to the safety briefing should be treated in the same way - rudely ejected. I just wish that the BA safety briefing video wasn't so annoying - that damn kid drops the damn rabbit every time! And I thought the Captain was there to ensure that the aeroplane went somewhere, not just for PAX safety!

4th Jul 2008, 17:18
Some interesting comments from contributors. Maybe it is time for a review of all devices?

I agree passengers should pay attention to safety procedures, but then again some passengers have seen it so many times before. BTW just how is that light on the life jacket activated?

My concern is to see glass bottles of alcohol for sale near departure gates. Surely they could be used as a weapon?

Why are gel-filled brassieres considered a danger with security?

jetset lady
4th Jul 2008, 18:18
Skipness One Echo,

I shall make it my mission to try and find a report. There's got to be one out there someone. If not, I shall write my own for you! As far as the mobiles in garages goes, I was once told that it was also because you are generally not paying attention when using them and it was becoming common place for people to be hit by cars. How true, I don't know.


You think that bunny dropping child on the video is annoying to you. Imagine how we feel as it appears we are supposed to pick the flaming thing up again every time. "Kid, do you want the damn rabbit or not?" By the way, have you ever noticed anything odd about one of the pictures on the BA safety cards? It concerns what a hostie is wearing in one of them!


The light is activated by being immersed in water. This is not, however, a green light for you all to throw water at us when we are doing a manual demo, just to see if it works!


west lakes
4th Jul 2008, 18:35
This is not, however, a green light for you all to throw water at us when we are doing a manual demo, just to see if it works!

Aww shucks:{

On the subject of mobile phones in petrol stations I think it relates to an incident many years ago in the States where the cause of a fire at a refinery was deemed to have been the use of a mobile radio.
The legislation will probably not even refer specifically to mobile phones but probably to radio transmitting devices - which despite their name, mobile phones are!

As a comparison I have a Private Mobile Radio (PMR) in my car with a transmitting power of 25W that has to be turned off in petrol stations as it automatically acknowledges incoming calls by transmitting.

In reality a lot of legislation has failed to keep up with technology so rules brought in many years ago have never been updated, but going back to my original post in an aircraft you have agreed to a contract so legally you have to stick to it.

The Conditions above were from BA BTW, the Ryanair site has more or less the same & includes the wording "including but not limited to" preceding the same list as BA.
Its far easier to include a blanket ban on all electronic equipment as if CC start having to make choices they are in effect altering the terms of the contract if you think about it.

Pontius Navigator
4th Jul 2008, 20:47
On a recent Ryanair flight I was told to turn my digital pocket camera off during take-off as it was electronic. I was surprised or ignorant.

Does electronic mean hearing aids, quartz watches, mp3 players, hand-held games machines?

Certainly mp3 players and games machines were mentioned as well on my last flight.

I can understand banning the use of mobiles and laptops, as I regard them as transmission devices.

These were also mentioned for use once the seat belt lights were off provided their wireless functions were turned OFF.

The irony of it all is that mobiles will be allowed eventually.

True but wrong at the same time.

You will find other information on prune and net. I understand that in-flight use will be permitted on aircraft that have been modified. A mobile will transmit at high power until it can hand shake with a cooperative base station. It will usuallu lock on to the strongest signal and at ground level will have few stations to access and switch in relatively slow time. In an aircraft a mobile will be able to handshake with far more base stations and at 480 kts will be hopping from one to another every minute or less.

Inflight use will be limited to aircraft that have their own base station. The mobile will search and lock on to the nearest, ie in the aircraft. The intergrated aircraft transceiver will then connect the call. Quite different from a free mobile doing an open search.

west lakes
4th Jul 2008, 20:57
In an aircraft a mobile will be able to handshake with far more base stations and at 480 kts will be hopping from one to another every minute or less.Though, as I understand it mobile base stations transmit very little power upwards owing to the antenna design. So though they may detect the signal from a phone the phone may not see their signal. This puts them, the phone, in the mode of transmitting at max power to get a base station - does flatten the batteries a bit quicker though.

Ah found it

Sector antenna - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sector_antenna)

Basically each antenna covers a 65 degree arc horizontally, but only a 15 (+/- 7.5) degree arc vertically, they may be tilted down so they provide no coverage above the centre of the antenna.

Using a bit of maths this means that at FL 400, within 57 miles of a base station you have no signal (as the theory goes) and at that distance based on a 10W transmitter I reckon the received signal will be about .0014W
Though this last calculation may be suspect this time of night!

5th Jul 2008, 01:15
If you go on to NewScientist.com and search for "mobile phones on aircraft", quite a few articles come up about interference from mobiles. Here's an extract:

"As a captain of a brand new Boeing 737 aircraft, I can assure readers that the effects of mobile phones are very noticeable on the flightdeck. The chief problem is a series of rapid beeps from the handset when it "checks in" with a base station. The handset does not need to be making or finishing a call to perform this function, it only needs to be switched on. The interference only manifests itself as a loud and annoying interference, but since some of our navigation equipment works on the same frequencies, interference with navigational capabilities cannot be ruled out."

You have to be a subscriber to get the whole article up, unfortunately.

A few years ago (3 I think), NS magazine did a big article on interference from mobile phones on aircraft. In plain English, this is the explanation:

A mobile phone sends out a signal to find a "connection" with a satelite (or similar). When in the air, the phone cannot find such a signal easily (or at all) and therefore sends out stronger and stronger signals. This is what is causing interference and you can imagine what 50 or even 100 phones will do if only 1 phone can noticeably interfere with aircraft equipment.

I've been on flights when there's been interference. Ouch, is all I can say. It does really hurt the ear drums! Also, I've been on a flight where the pilots lost ATC tower contact for 3 seconds just before landing due to a phone being switched on. Yes, it was "only" 3 seconds, but that is 3 seconds too long, especially at that stage of the flight.

The reason why airlines are now looking into using mobile phones on aircraft is partly for the extra income, and partly because of the technology which enables them to do it. Basically, a little box will be fitted in the roof of the aircraft with all the receiver/signal/technology bit so the phone can latch onto that using a very low strenght signal. Therefore it is deemed acceptable. I have to say I'm glad I'm not doing any of the test flights though, as I don't trust this new technology.

Gg (brain worn out now)

Ps. I know some people here said what harm can it do etc. Basically, in the airline industry we do not operate to "lets try this/it'll be ok/oh sure" etc etc. We live by check lists and sticking to rules and we'd rather someone got annoyed at not being able to use their phone (or other equipment) for a couple of hours than potential danger to the aircraft. As for the non-watchers of the demo... that topic has been done a zillion times. If you don't want to watch/listen, at least be quiet about it. Please. Simple as that.

PPs. What is it with people who don't understand that their Blackberry/mobile phone needs to be switched off completely for take off and landing? Every flight, I get the same response: me saying "can you switch off your xyz please?" pax answers: "it is switched off". Let me tell you, if the screen is lit up and it has letters and/or symbols on it, it is not switched off.

Final 3 Greens
5th Jul 2008, 07:37
Skipness One Echo

Read this......


5th Jul 2008, 09:30
The work is ongoing at ETSI (European Telecommunication Standards Institute) on providing covergae for mobile 'phones in aircraft. As the aircraft will have its own base station aboard, the mobiles will be at minimum power. Addirionally, it is currently envisaged that the use will only be permitted above 10,000 feet. It seems the main demand for this comes from the airlines, because they will CHARGE (and then some!) for the calls. These days, they need any revenue they can get....

Westlakes, yes, anything over about 5 watts could cause a problem. One of the reasons for the ban was in the hey day of illegal CB, where people found that running an illegal CB with a 100 watt amplifier in the car while filling up made the petrol pump severley underestimate the quantity delivered. If you strictly enforce the 'no radio transmitters' rule on a forecourt, you wouldn't let people lock their car doors while they went to pay, unless they physically inserted the key in the lock, rather than pressing a button! I'm a bit surprised one of our more enterprising police forces hasn't tried raising their prosecution rates by sitting in a petrol station....

Jetset lady,

Yes, I can imagine your irritation at picking up the bloody rabbit! And at the bit where it says 'Always make sure your own mask is correctly fitted before helping anyone else', I would like to see added 'If you have more than one child, decide which one you love the most'. And I doubt very much if the light in demo life jacket has a good battery, so there's no point in throwing water at you! Anyway, that would be rude.........

Still, I should complain about the video. I get the whole month of July without flying anywhere.

More seriously, have the airlines given any thought to the growing proliferation of personal medical electronic devices using radio?

5th Jul 2008, 10:34
I usually switch on a couple of mobiles once on chocks and place them on the extension at the rear of the centre-pedestal. Recently switched both on, put them down, and was amazed to see how the FMS-display adjacent to the phones rapidly blinked on-and-off a number of times as the 'phones came online. Used to think the whole 'switch-off-the-mobiles thing' was a bit overblown, have had a rethink there. :ooh: