Random Musings From 30,000 Feet

The things you think about at 30,000... can fill up a blog post

The things you think about at 30,000 feet... can fill up a blog post

I’m sitting in seat 4C on the second leg of my trip from Raleigh to Pittsburgh. Due to some rainstorms in Philly (my connection), the original flight out of NC was delayed an hour and a half, which turned into 2 hours after we sat on the runway for what seemed like forever.

This travel drama is due to yet another wedding, which probably sounds like a broken record to those in the Elon iMedia program. This is in fact the fourth I’ve attended since classes started in August and the sixth this year. (I’m done making new friends who plan on ever getting married, by the way).

Needless to say, I’ve done a great deal of traveling back and forth to my home state of Pennsylvania. Unable to stomach the thought of making the 7 hour drive in my Honda Civic again, I decided to fly home for the last two weddings.

(Here’s where I tie this all into interactive media)

So I’m sitting here thinking about media, technology and planes and have some questions.

First, why  doesn’t Southwest have Wifi on the plane. Delta, American Airlines and Virgin America all offer it for a fee. Why can’t I check my email on Southwest?

And why does Raleigh charge for Wifi service, yet Pittsburgh and Cleveland don’t.

But the question that has been nagging me the most (for the past few years in fact) is why am I instructed to turn off all my portable electronics during take off and landing?

In the last five years, I’ve never actually turned any of these devices off when told to do so by flight attendants  because, honesty, have you ever heard of a plane crashing due to the use of portable electronics?

My Macbook and iPod Touch are both wireless, constantly sending out signals looking for a wireless network. Simply closing the notebook or leaving the iPod alone for a minutes puts them to sleep, but neither are actually turned off.

Neither of the college-aged kids sitting on either side of me turned off their ipod or cell phones either. When the flight attendant came to check, we all simply flipped our screens to face down and were rarely questioned.

When the attendenat did ask the kid next to me if his device was off, he relpied “yes.” C’mon, they both know it was still on. Hell, he still had head phones in both of his ears. At least I took one earbud out in a half-ass attempt to sell that I turned it off.

Here’s the actual FAA regulation, according to Gizmodo:

§ 121.306   Portable electronic devices.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person may operate, nor may any operator or pilot in command of an aircraft allow the operation of, any portable electronic device on any U.S.-registered civil aircraft operating under this part.
(b) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to—
(1) Portable voice recorders;
(2) Hearing aids;
(3) Heart pacemakers;
(4) Electric shavers; or
(5) Any other portable electronic device that the [airline] has determined will not cause interference with the navigation or communication system of the aircraft on which it is to be used.
(c) The determination required by paragraph (b)(5) of this section shall be made by that [airline] operating the particular device to be used.
[Doc. No. FAA–1998–4954, 64 FR 1080, Jan. 7, 1999]

Do people actually use electric shavers during takeoff?

So what the hell? Am I alone here? Am I the only person who disobeys this stupid rule, made a decade ago?

Does anyone actually know if portable electronic devices have an affect on planes?

Does anyone else think this rule needs an overhaul?

I know every person under 25 disregards it as bull$&^#, but do actual adults follow these orders blindly or do they go through the motions like me?

And why do I kind of feel guilty every time I do it?

And why did the tv lie to me when it said “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”? Because it clearly was not when my jet hydroplaned upon landing?

And why is my battery icon red? Oh, because my laptop is about to die.

Signing off.

KPB

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