Airline passenger is arrested for turning on cell phone and refusing to turn it off during landing

Airline passenger is arrested for turning on cell phone and refusing to turn it off during landing
Call it a total disregard for authority or simply testing out whether it’s an urban myth or something, but one Southwest Airlines passenger tested out the waters by doing the unthinkable during a routine landing into El Paso International Airport in Texas.

Literally at the last leg of the flight from Phoenix, the passenger in question decided to whip out and turn on their cell phone during the plane’s landing approach into the airport. Of course, the man was informed to turn it off, but for some reason unknown to us all, he ignore the request. Well folks, there’s nothing wrong with questioning authority, but when there are security concerns with flights, it shouldn’t be taken too lightly by passengers.

For his deed, the individual was met by El Paso police authorities upon arrival at the gate, and was arrested soon afterwards. So what can we all learn from this? Well, it’s one thing to question authority, but when someone tells you politely to turn your cell phone off, you might want to take it with great concern and not shrug it off like it's of little importance.

source: AP via Textually



1. bubba78

Posts: 57; Member since: May 23, 2011

Got what he deserved!!!

2. pyromunkey

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 29, 2011

so what's the real reason to turn off our phones?

4. Yeeee

Posts: 190; Member since: Aug 02, 2011

The plane could crash dumbass

30. Juice unregistered

The plane can not crash from a cell phone being left on. Dumbass... If that would be the case then some "dumbass" is making our planes...

36. PeterIfromsweden

Posts: 1230; Member since: Aug 03, 2011

A plane does not crash by leaving a cell phone turned on. I have misstakenly left my cell phone on once when i was flying, no trouble at all ! On Discovery, Mythbusters did a test about cell phones on a plane, and their result was that it did not interfer with the airplane at all.

6. huhu unregistered

to prevent disturbance for the airplane communication to tower or flight system and that can cost your life and other passenger life just because someone stupidness

13. superguy

Posts: 465; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

As a wireless expert in the field answered when I asked that question, he said he was asked that a lot and talked to Boeing about it once. Boeing's response: "Do you really think we'd design a plane that could be brought down by a cell phone?" The real reason is that if enough people didn't turn off their phones, it could wreak havoc on the phone networks. Phones were designed to only see a few towers at once, and hand offs were relatively slow. Now picture a phone being able to see a lot of towers at once, and being handed off every few seconds. At altitude, planes would be hard pressed to be able to communicate with a tower due to being out of range. They'd look for towers, not be able to communicate, and probably drain their battery fairly quickly. Aircraft communications are free from interference. There are tons of towers around airports and around the country that could interfere. Planes talk to the towers in the low 100MHz range - far from the spectrum that would interfere. Plane systems are also shielded and redundant. There's probably some dumbass that left their phone on nearly every flight. Planes don't fall out of the sky. The reason these days for not being able to turn on your phone in the air is due to FAA regulation. Wireless isn't necessarily a problem. They've tested picocells in flight with success. It's more of a question of "should they." A lot of people are against the idea of hearing everyone in small confined space yammering in their ears while another is on the phone.

22. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

anyone even tested to see if a cell could connect at altitude? lol.. something tells me cell towers werent designed to look "up". :)

24. superguy

Posts: 465; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

Well, I know people who have found that their phones were accidentally left on during flights. Towers might not be designed to "look up" but to say that the light is going to remain flat and not go into the sky shows a lack of understanding. We also know that on 9/11, people on UA93 used their phones in the sky around 10,000 feet. That signal got up there somehow.

38. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

they were using the in flight built in phones until they got lower in the atmosphere if i remember right. Yes, signal goes "up" at an angle, but it only travels so far. Thats why it was a question. Its not my knowledge base, and I was hoping someone would have a valid answer.

37. nimo

Posts: 72; Member since: Jun 11, 2010

Yes, they just don't work again until your coming in to land. We used to be able to use Cell phones on some domestic flights in the UK and there was no coverage at all until they turned on the femtocell on the plane.

3. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

I wonder how sh*t-for-brains (aka the passenger who was arrested) would have responded if their cellphone had interfered with one of the plane's electronic landing systems? It would have been a reasonable case of genetic de-selection if they had died in a crash. Only problem is that there would have been a few other innocent souls that would have perished with them. Time for some complementary room-and-board (although with restricted visitation hours and generally being confined to your room for the duration).

12. vantenkiest

Posts: 316; Member since: Apr 20, 2011


5. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

First of all, I think the passenger should have followed instructions. Not sure why exactly he decided not to. Second, the plane landed safely. I do question the need to turn these things off considering we can turn them on during flight. If electronics can interfere with landing, I would expect it would also interfere with the plane in mid flight as well. Are landing systems on planes so much more sensitive than mid flight systems? If so, I would have an issue with the engineers who design landing systems. I don't tell everone to turn off all of their cell phones when I am about to pull my car into and out of a parking spot.

10. Rawrzellers

Posts: 224; Member since: Aug 22, 2010

You cannot turn your phone on during the flight :/

26. wassup

Posts: 565; Member since: Jun 23, 2011

you can on emirates, they even have access to the net whilst unless you're in taxi, or landing. I dunno bout other Airlines tho

34. LionStone

Posts: 1048; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

Yes, you can have your phone on, and Delta uses GoGo Inflight, I use it all the time. But typically people that use their phones, drop it into airplane mode and then use the wifi. Or ppl still play games and listen to music on their phones even if they dont connect to wifi. Now with my tablet, I dont activate the phone, I just use the tablet for everything...texting (GoogleVoice), streaming Pandora and browsing, email, etc.. I have accidently left my cell's mobile network on once and received a call in mid-air! My dad's face popped up on my screen and I was like WHAT THE!? I freaked out and ended it quick as s**t, I forget where I was flying over at the time...but it surely was ringing, luckily the volume was all the way down!

7. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Dude since 9/11 people at the airport mean business. I would not want to mess with anyone in an airplane. If they say turn it off, it means turn it off. It's not worth it to go through what is going to happen to you for not following the rules. If you do anything against the rules in an airplane or an airport, you might as well put a shiny red bull’s-eye on you because everyone & their mothers will come down on you. I am sorry but this person got his just deserts for obviously being a total buffoon. I travel a lot for a living & let me tell you something, travelling sucks. They make you take off your shoes, & sometimes they spot check you & your carry on, BUT I like to know people are taking the necessary steps to protect the commuters. I was in NYC during 9/11 it was not a pretty sight! That guy was being an a$S!

8. bolaG

Posts: 468; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Honestly I never turn off my phone when I travel. I just lock the screen and put it away. I do however put it in "airplane mode" while I'm on board.

9. Laron unregistered

When your phone is in airplane mode it's not trying to connect to a network. I'm not sure if he just had his phone on or was talking on it. There are so many dangers that having a phone on a plane can have. Phones can be used to set off bombs; which seems like the best possible explanation.

15. superguy

Posts: 465; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

And how is a phone going to set off a bomb when it can't communicate with a tower? If TSA's doing such a wonderful job, there shouldn't be any bombs on the plane in the first place.

11. Rawrzellers

Posts: 224; Member since: Aug 22, 2010

A man sitting next to me on my flight didn't turn off his iPhone as we were taxing down the runway. Guess who pushed the flight attendant button and got him to turn it off. I encourage everyone to do the same if they see a cellphone being used. It is dangerous and for you not to think it is means you should not be allowed to be on an airplane with other people. Those are people's brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, ect that you could potentially kill.

16. bolaG

Posts: 468; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

I highly doubt that I was endagering anyone by having my cell phone on. It always stays in air plane mode while I'm on board, and I'm not on it during take off and landing.

18. superguy

Posts: 465; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

Not only that, if wireless technology is so dangerous, how come WiFi is now allowed on some flights? It's not on all flights as it won't sell on every flight, plus it's expensive to put in and go thru the FAA's certification process.

14. Jreekes unregistered

I work for an airline, not going to say which, and even though flight attendants won't tell you this, this is why. One of the main reasons for turning them off during takeoff and landing is so people won't be distracted by them and ignore commands from the crew. For example if the plane had to be evacuated would you want the person in the exit row or the person between you and the exit listening to an iPod or using an iPad and not pay attention to the crew as when to evacuate or what side of the plane to use or where. There is a small possibity of interference with the instruments in cruise as well as takeoff and landing. In cruise about the only commands you may get from the crew are to fasten your seatbelt or put on your oxygen mask if the plane were to depressurize.

17. superguy

Posts: 465; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

This I believe. If cell phones were such a problem for interference, the there wouldn't be towers within miles of airports and we'd see planes crashing all the time.

20. box unregistered

Now THAT answer makes sense. Kudos. Mythbusters disproved the interference thing. The order for electronics to be off is there for safety and for "just in case" scenarios

29. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

Thank you. This is the most reasonable reason I have heard for the reasons to turn off cell phones during the take-off and landing cycles of a flight.

19. Mooooo

Posts: 212; Member since: Aug 27, 2011

I love my cell phone but I can live without it if i have to for hours. In my day we didnt have cell phones at least the general public did not. So i can live without using it for awhile on a flight. I like looking out the window anyway.

21. ibap

Posts: 867; Member since: Sep 09, 2009

Even before 9/11, you could get yourself in hot water by ignoring crew during takeoffs and landings. I was once on a flight where a guy with his arm in a sling got on the plane, reclined his seat as far as it would go, and wouldn't put it back up for takeoff. The cabin attendant told him he could lean back as soon as we were airborne. Still didn't comply. She then told him we'd be going back to the gate if he didn't. And let me tell you, she wasn't quiet about it, so all of us in the vicinity knew who the culprit was. He put the seat up.

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