Sunday, October 23, 2011

Anti-Social Flyers


Twice now I have sat next to plane fliers who don't care about flight rules and who distain authority. 

The clearest was the guy in first class who kept using his wireless-enabled iPad throughout the flight. Not only did he have it on during landing -- he had the cell phone connection on and was surfing the internet. 

I am skeptical about how much electronic interference can really crash a modern jet, but most people give the benefit of the doubt. ABC News did a report last summer on it, and there were anecdotes about interference with the aircraft's electronics. Sensor gear can detect the interference from electronics -- what is unclear is how seriously radar and aircraft computers are affected. Aircraft manufacturers try to design in protection, and Boeing does not say that there is a problem.  Landing is a critical time, and this person might be endangering people is a problem. 

The second, was a person who put her seat back into recline immediately after the flight attendent sat down for take off  -- thus she would not be caught.  Airlines keep the seat backs up so that people can evacuate the plane quickly, and the landing and tack-off portions are the most dangerous parts of the flight. This was an early morning flight -- I got up at 3:50 AM to get there, but her priority on her own comfortable sleep should not be at the expense of other people's risk of death.