Friday, June 10, 2011


Phones Are Bad for Planes

Eeesh. A new report has found that cell phones and "personal electronic devices" really do interfere with planes’ navigation systems, which obviously is very dangerous. So when you think you’re being all sneaky tweeting about the loud chewer sitting across the aisle while you are in flight, you might in fact be endangering the lives of all your fellow passengers. Not cool. Last time I flew, a guy next to me was doing this very thing, and I spent the whole flight being nervous about it and debating whether I should tell him to turn it off. (I didn't, because apparently I am incapable of being pushy even if it is a life or death matter?) We landed without incident, and everyone else turned on their phones. This prompted a very elegant elderly woman who was sitting in front of me to turn to her traveling companion — who was either her nephew or her godson, I couldn’t tell — and start lamenting how people used to just stand up and get off the plane when it landed, but now they all whip out their phones and start checking their messages. (I guess, but they still get off the plane?) That led them into a much longer conversation about how young people’s texting is ruining the English language, and they got onto the topic of LOL. Her companion maintained that it stood for Laughing Out Loud, while she insisted that it meant Lots of Love. He took a sort of condescending tone about it and was like, “When people say that in emails, I can almost guarantee they mean Laughing Out Loud.” But she was no fool. She replied, “No, I don’t think so, because, for instance, when George died, I got emails from friends that said, ‘I’m so sorry to hear about George. LOL.” Ha! “Sorry your husband died. Can't stop giggling!” Anyway, when the flight attendant tells you to turn off your phone, please please please do it. LOL.

50 Comments / Post A Comment

Patrick M

Were you sitting by Adam Gopnik's wife?


@Patrick M That essay is the first thing I thought of too!

Pound of Salt

According to urban dictionary 'Lol' is an abbreviated form of the name 'Laurence' DUH


LOL. For reals. Someone laughed out loud at her husband's death!?


@winchesterwolcott I wonder if George died in a hilarious way. Maybe it was appropriate?


@winchesterwolcott: Not if he died in a plane crash because some asshole was texting about a loud chewer.


@Bittersweet Or a loud blinker! Or loud kneeler! The possibilities are endless.


that LOL thing appears to be an epidemic amongst mom types:

maybe as you grower older, you laugh less and love more?

gin twin

@merg My boss thinks it means 'lots of laughs'. She is in the middle of the transformation, apparently.


Yes, but why do the young people always write "ROTFLMAO ('Rotting Old Tannery Floors Leave Me Anxiously Obsessing')" when I deploy their up-to-date lingo in a pager texting message?

What a coincidence! I've obtained confidential industry studies which detail how dangerous it is for drivers to honk between the hours of 5am and 10am, and what a serious risk it is for women to hold their purses in the crook of their arms, palms facing the sky, as they walk briskly down the street.

Sydney C

@saraphonic The purse thing! I hate it SO MUCH!


Texting is ruining the English language! Receiving texts with 'U' and 'R' and '2' as actual words makes me want to fly into fits of rage. I like this lady, and after that George part, just go along that it's 'lots of love' for her sake! Also I hate 'LOL'.


@shenannies It cracks me up, because the only person I know who regularly sends me texts using U instead of you, etc. is my MOM. No one in my age range does it, maybe it's just that teenagers and people of my parents generation are all into the word shortening nonsense? (I hate LOL too, and have never used it, and always think a little less of someone when they do).


@shenannies This, and then I also don't like when people write yr. It's your or you're and since yr not Kerouac, I think you can take the extra second and add a couple of letters.


@VictorVictrola I know someone who says "rele" instead of "really". It rele makes me angry.


@thebestjasmine It's exactly the same with my mother! I think it's that predictive text is just a step or two beyond her technological limits, and thus shortening genuinely saves time.


@contrary I've never heard of that! And it's terrible!

Brobdingnagian Brainboners

@steve Yes, this! Using abbreviations and leaving unnecessary words out means it only takes my mom 5 minutes to send a text instead of 10. She apologizes to me all the time because she knows I get annoyed when people do "R" and "U" and all that. I tell her not to be ridiculous because i don't get annoyed by her doing it.


I think LOL, OMG, WTF etc are legit as they are acronyms, although I tend to use LOL ironically and very rarely to actually indicate that I am laughing. Bt ppl who write lyk this rele fkin annoy me! Especially places like facebook or email where there is no space limit to justify such elisions.


@steve My mom has no such excuse, she has a blackberry!


@contrary In my neck of the midwest, saying "prolly" instead of "probably" has been endemic for decades. It drives me NUTS.


Lots of LOLs think that way.


(little old ladies)



Livin' Out Loud!

tiny dancer

We're flying in a Lockheed Eagle Series L-1011. Came off the line twenty months ago. Carries a Sim-5 transponder tracking system, and you're telling me I can still flummox this thing with something I bought at Radio Shack?



@tiny dancer TOBY.


My dad signs his emails to me as "LOL" and I know he means "lots of love" because he used to write it out fully. But then I guess he discovered abbreviations.

I do hate "LOL" but for some reason I still accept "WTF" and sometimes even embrace "OMG."


@emilylouise WTF FTW


@emilylouise I genuinely love OMG, and I think that's because I say "Oh my God" on a regular basis. I think LOL bugs me so much because it's a made up acroynm for a made up expression -- when does anyone ever say "Laugh out loud!"?? Never.


@thebestjasmine OMGWTFBBQLOL


@emilylouise I thought my dad was the only person who ends his BBMs with "LOL Dad" (and then adds "lots of love - not laughing out loud - dad"

I love it :)


I become enraged (surprise!) by people using their phones on the plane after the announcement not to do so. It's not so much the dying in a plane crash I care about (especially if I'm on my way home from vacation) - but THEY ARE BREAKING THE RULES! EVERYONE HAS TO FOLLOW THE RULES!!!


@ejcsanfran Yes! I hate it when I am following the rules and I observe someone else who is not.


@ejcsanfran Witnessing a person's ability (or lack thereof) to follow federal safety regulations is a really great way to judge their character. And I love me some judging.


I had to explain to my older coworker recently that his (younger) boss was complimenting him with YTM, because he was so confused, believing it meant yield to maturity.


@MoonBat Hmm, the urban dictionary definition of YMT doesn't really sound like a compliment exactly...


@theharpoon : You The Man, Harpoon, You The Man. I'm afraid to even look up YMT....


@MoonBat At first I was like, "But I'm not a man!" and then I realized.

ps It apparently stands for "Your Mama's Titties," which is supposed to be a thing people say when they don't have a good comeback? I don't know.


Oh man, the phone/plane thing has always been a fear of mine. I HATE flying to begin with, and I'm always scared of those BlackBerry jerks (they're ALWAYS on BBs) screwing with the plane. I will have to remember to double my happy pill dose for my next flight!


I love rules and especially when there are consequences (love Locked Up Abroad, Locked Up: Raw, Behind Prison Walls, etc - any show like that, I'm a sicko).
That being said, I wonder if a plane passenger could be charged with using their cell phone against FAA "rules." Is this an actual "law?" like the "No texting while driving" laws. ?? Is there going to be some rough justice by the poor flight attendants in between chardonnay refills? Would you have an air marshal blow a dart into your neck? I need answers.
Or is it "please do this because we could all die.... Sir."
All you legal eagles, should weigh in!


@theharpoon : "Yo Mamma's Titties?!?" ROFLMFAOBBQWTF

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

lol @ tihs:

Live Poll
Do you think cell phones and other PEDs interfere with flight controls?


I have to fly tomorrow and now I'm going to be on the lookout for potential cell phone-related life endangerers. Tonight, I will practice saying "Excuse me, but could you please turn off your cellular device so that I don't die?"


As a fellow nervous flyer, I too get really anxious about the BB-ers (and in fact even called a flight attendant over once to get a girl to shut her phone down. Just call me Nervous Nellie Tattletale.). But a friend who used to work for the White House and flew on Air Force One many times tells me that all the staff and press aboard use their phones throughout the whole flight. And that's dozens of people at once. So - I don't know?


You guys, I use my phone on planes to read and stuff, but I put it on flight mode first, so it's not sending or receiving signals. Maybe everyone else is doing this too, maybe it's fine?


I always thought the 'interefering with navigational systems' thing was just a ruse to prevent annoying phone use, and that they couldn't really KNOW. But the last time I took a domestic flight in the US, they said before takeoff, 'If your phone is still switched on, there is a light illuminated above your seat, and we are not taking off until they are all out'! Everyone immediately looked around accusingly at the evil phonemongers. I did not know they could do this but it seems they can.


This report did NOT conclusively determine that cell phones interfere with navigation systems. No scientific study was done -- the report is based on anecdotal evidence gathered from a survey of pilots. The plural of anecdote is not data blah blah you know what I'm saying.

Jon Custer

I don't buy it. People have been using phones on planes for years (despite the warnings). There are 120,000 people in the air at any given time, so even if less than one percent of them are in-flight phone users that's hundreds of people at any given moment, just cold texting away, and yet phone use has never been implicated in any sort of air safety incident let alone a crash... Even if the interference is minor, surely the pilot would go on the intercom and say "Hey, guys, my instruments aren't working properly so could whoever is using his phone please stop now?"

EDIT: OK I clearly didn't read the article first. But I still stand by my statement! If it was really a problem, there would have been a serious incident by now. I don't see why airplane systems are any different from every other bit of electronic gadgetry (see: hospitals) which it is perfectly safe to use phones around.

Rosy Roselin@facebook

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