Man nearly arrested for using iPhone during flight

Posted by Mark Raby

Honolulu (HI) - A man was almost arrested for trying to watch a movie on his iPhone during a trip on ATA Airlines to Hawaii.

The Consumerist reports that the man, identified as Casey, was watching the movie "I Know What You Did Last Summer" on his iPhone when a flight attendant noticed the device and asked him to turn it off.

Like most phones with multimedia features, the iPhone has an "airplane mode", which disables radio signals for the specific purpose of being airline-friendly.  Casey says he was using his iPhone in this mode.

Casey wrote in his story to the publication that a flight attendant came over to him and ordered him to turn off his phone.  "He said something to the effect of 'you can't use a cell phone in flight' ... I assured him that I had the phone in airplane mode and that all cell, wifi and bluetooth was off," wrote Casey.

"About 10 minutes later, the same guy comes back and waves his hand in front of my face, I pause the movie again, and look over at him. He says that I am not allowed to use a cell phone in flight and I am breaking FAA rules," his story continues.

After further protesting, Casey said the flight attendant yelled, "You have to do anything I say.  I am going to have you arrested."

It is a federal offense to disobey flight attendant instructions, and after continued protests the head flight attendant called the police, who were waiting for Casey when the plane landed.

After a back-and-forth conversation between the attendant and a sequestered Casey, the police decided to let him go.

Some airlines do have written policies that cell phones cannot be used for any reason, while others specifically state that phones in airplane mode are allowed above 10,000 feet.  ATA does not have a specific policy either way.  Casey has submitted a complaint to ATA's corporate headquarters.