“Hand held devices may be used during takeoff and landing as long as they are are in flight safe mode !”
For many years we were told that all mobile devices must be switched off for these two most dangerous transitions of air travel, more recently however this practise has been relaxed to allow us to continue our obsession with our most treasured tech devices throughout our journey.
What is flight safe mode? Well essentially it is a setting that disables the functionality of cellular and wifi connectivity which one could be forgiven for assuming could affect the safety of a flight if not activated.
So, this leads to the question, if someone has inadvertently, belligerently or incompetently not enabled flight safe mode, does this render the flight not safe?
In all my years flying I have never seen anyone challenged as to their competency to render their device ‘non lethal’ and I am quite sure most people at one time or another have reached the end of a flight only to glance at their device and realise that they have left it in ‘Plane Disaster’ mode for the entirety of the flight.
Engaging Bullshit Radar
Dare I suggest that if there was even a tiny chance that any of the people on a flight, most with one or more of these devices was potentially able to cause any issue with the safety of a multi million pound aircraft and its passengers then it would have been confiscated during the “Do you have any liquids or are you wearing a terrorist utility belt” tedium that takes place prior to all of our journeys now.
Strangely, I seem to recall that when I flew on Alaskan Airlines a few years ago that WIFI connectivity was even offered on board…are they insane? Do they not realise how dangerous that is ?
There were reports though in May 2015 of a passenger who allegedly hacked the planes controls via the onboard entertainment system using just a laptop, more scaremongering or fact, who knows?
Safety by Honesty?
I was once told by a well informed person that the reason they ask you to remove any liquids from your luggage before scanning is because an X-ray machine cannot detect liquids, which does sort of make sense given the way an X-ray works.
And what is the point of the 100ml rule, if I needed 200ml of some dastardly liquid then could two people not just take 100ml each?
These disconnects then must lead us to the conclusion that safety, despite all the hullabaloo has now defaulted to honesty…
…unless, maybe it is all utter bullshit and pretence, I mean, if you did have terrifying terroristic tendencies and were planning to cause some mainstream media mayhem, why would you honestly even bother with the hassle and inconvenience of putting an airplane on your target list when there are a million other places with no security whatsoever?
Like many, I continue to hold the belief that since the events of 9/11 and the subsequent shambolic official report that would insult the intelligence of a ten year old, that we have descended into a spiral of fear-mongering hogwash that ultimately is just eroding our freedoms and serves only to line the pockets of companies involved in the supply of the paraphernalia associated with ‘keeping us safe’
It is not an act of terrorism to ask questions, so I have adopted a stance as a frequent flyer to question my treatment and the processes I am exposed to, above all I expect to be treated as a customer, not a criminal when I fly.
Recently at an international airport I was randomly selected along with a few other passengers for yet another security process. Despite us having already been through two levels of security both involving an X-ray scanner this one was at the gate and being done by hand.
Human Rights and Wrongs
I stood and watched as the lady in front of me was asked to empty her hand luggage on a table for all to see, the impassive female security officer then continued to root through each and every item, her wallet, every packet, case, zip bag, the lady in question stood and allowed this to happen as if resigned to the fact she was no longer a paying passenger but had been transformed into an inmate at the reception of a gulag.
When my turn came I was not quite as acquiescent as my fellow traveller, my hand luggage contains many gadgets, numerous cables, connectors, plugs, hard drives, devices, dongles all of which undergo a careful packing process in order to fit in my perfectly sized cabin luggage.
On placing my case on the table I rudely received the command “Open”. “I beg your pardon ?” I said, forcing my oppressor to make eye contact, I smiled and said “Please would you open?” She understood perfectly, I calmly unzipped one of the four sections, “Take Out” she barked, I calmly replied ” Everything?”
Now having seen what had gone before I knew that she did indeed mean everything, I had purposely first opened the compartment containing non fragile cables and bits and bobs, I turned the case upside down and shook until her table was awash with all and sundry.
“Stop ! ” She winced but it was too late now, I was already in full flow showing her all my gadgets, photo albums on my laptop and tablet and making quite a show of it.
Now, the point of this story is that she didn’t even bother to check the remaining two sections of my bag, which begs the question as to the futility of it all, most importantly I had taken back the power and I wasn’t quite finished just yet.
With her table full I was ushered to repack my case, which I did, slowly, painfully beautifully slowly, my point had been made, they knew it, all my fellow passengers knew it, non violent, non acquiescence had won.
So, to summarise the truth behind all this I will leave you in the capable hands of an aviation professional.
Don’t ever be afraid to ask Why? …unless it is this lady 😉