‘Turn Off All Electronic Devices:’ And What Happens if You Don’t

From Wall Street Journal:

It happens on just about every flight now, say flight attendants. The plane’s door closes and it’s time to turn off personal electronic devices.

And there’s always at least one person who keeps talking, texting, tweeting, playing, watching or emailing—and ignoring stern orders to power down.

Scott McCartney on Lunch Break looks at the battles between passengers and flight attendants over electronic gadgets and why more passengers are refusing, at least initially, to follow regulations.
.On rare occasions, a confrontation erupts, such as actor Alec Baldwin’s widely reported removal from an American Airlines plane in December. Although airlines say they don’t keep track or won’t disclose how many passengers get bounced off planes for refusing to switch off devices, flight attendants say it’s now the No. 1 spark for unruly behavior.

“People have become so wedded to these devices, and a lot of people really question whether they need to turn them off,” says Southwest Airlines flight attendant Thom McDaniel.

Travelers who “think ‘it’s no big deal’ or ‘the rule doesn’t apply to me’—those are the hardest,” says Kelly Skyles, an American Airlines flight attendant. “Most passenger misconduct cases now deal with noncompliance with electronic devices.”

Airline rules backed by federal laws allow crews to turn a plane back to the gate and toss passengers off flights to prevent disputes in the air.

In most cases, it isn’t the initial issue that gets people kicked off planes, whether they’ve been told to pull up their saggy pants, clean up their language or stop playing “Words With Friends” on their iPhones. Instead, it’s the ensuing argument.

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