back to article Air China passenger arrested for in-flight phone abuse

Passengers on Chinese airlines were reminded this week that there’s no such thing as 'Airplane Mode' for mobiles in China, after one unfortunate passenger en route from Canada who repeatedly used his smartphone camera and music player was banged up on arrival by Beijing police. The unlucky passenger, surnamed Du, ignored the …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Intranet

    « a Wi-Fi service – albeit restricted to an on-board intranet [...] plans to allow satellite comms systems on domestic aircraft which could provide internet and voice services »

    China being, well, China, I doubt they'll provide internet access at all: it'll probably just be the same glorified intranet the people already have to cope with when they're on terra firma.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Always

      Wondered why the airlines were insistent that when flying over China to Hong Kong the window blinds had to be down. What would I be able to see at 30,000 feet.

      1. Thorne

        Re: Always

        "What would I be able to see at 30,000 feet."

        Massive clouds of smog. Been there, seen that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Always

          If your really lucky you will see the huge open pit fires that belch a lot of this smog. Strangely these are missing from google earth.

          Welcome to grey-jing.

          1. NomNomNom

            Re: Always

            it sounds like mordor

            1. Great Bu

              Re: Always

              One does not simply fly into Mordor with ones smartphone on......

    2. Psyx
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Intranet

      "it'll probably just be the same glorified intranet the people already have to cope with when they're on terra firma."

      It'll probably just be good bait for the chance to download spyware onto Western businessmen's smartphones.

  2. JaitcH
    Meh

    Minor charge and minor penalty

    Chin, VietNam and some other countries have 'administrative' punishment and court punishment. They are the equivalent of a summary or minor charge OR a felony or serious charge.

    He has the right to appeal the administrative punishment to a court.

    In VietNam drug users are subject to 'administrative' punishment which an include confinement for months in former 're-education' camps where they are lectured on the evil of drugs.

    Of course, in the US he would get to visit a court and most likely banged up for months, if not years.

  3. xyz
    Thumb Up

    That'll teach the smug "I'm special" git

    Can you imagine the cabin annoucement on easyJet....?

    "Ladies and gentlemen, switch your phones and other electronic devices off, otherwise it's 5 days in the slammer for you when we land"

    WooHoo!!!

    1. JDC

      Re: That'll teach the smug "I'm special" git

      Except the actual announcement would be something like "For passengers who haven't paid for Speedy Wifi, please switch your phones and other electronic devices off, otherwise it's 5 days in the slammer for you when we land".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That'll teach the smug "I'm special" git

        Or on RyanAir, "Passengers not turning off phones or other electronic devices will get 5 days in the slammer when we land and incur a £50 fee to cover our costs in assisting the authorities"

    2. NightFox
      Facepalm

      Re: That'll teach the smug "I'm special" git

      On every airline I've ever flown on.

      "Welcome to xxxxxx. Please remain seated with your seatbelt fastened until the plane comes to a complete stop and the Captain turns off the Fasten Seat Belt sign. Mobile phones must not be turned on until you are inside the airport building."

      At least I think that's what it says, difficult to hear above the din of everyone leaping out of their seats, taking their suitcases out of the overhead lockers and the frantic stabbing of hundreds of mobile phones 'on' buttons, all within less than one second of the tyres touching tarmac.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That'll teach the smug "I'm special" git

        In the US it is actually completely the opposite!!! As soon as the plane is at the gate you can make calls, but not use other electronics for some bizarre reason !!??

  4. Purlieu

    Good

    now extend this to trains, tubes, buses, the UK

    1. Eponymous Cowherd
      Mushroom

      Re: Good

      Particularly in the case of "quiet zone" carriages.

      FFS. There is one sodding carriage on the whole bloody train where you can escape from the assholes who think everyone else wants to hear a squeaky version of their crap music, yet some twat always seems to miss all the signs (obviously they can't hear the completely pointless announcement as that would require the surgical removal of their Dr Dres)

      What is needed is a baseball bat in a glass fronted cabinet underneath the "quiet zone" notice with sign on the front saying "Break glass in case of ignorant fucktard".

  5. Matt_payne666

    Serves him right... Irrespective of wether the devices actually are a danger, he was asked several times to cease using it, so he deserves a slap on the wrist, which in china can be a little more severe than over here!

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Yes, an aircraft in flight is like a ship at sea, the captain has legal authority. If you disobey a legitimate order you are in deep trouble, regardless of what the original dispute was about.

      If you're told to switch the phone off you don't enter into a discussion with the crew as to whether the phone is actually a safety risk or not, you switch the phone off.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It says he was taking photos.. I suspect the flight crew got annoyed with that more than him using the device in flight safe mode....

    3. Spoddyhalfwit

      disappointed they only gave him a slap on the wrist. I'd have hoped for a chinese burn at the very least.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        not bad. He got 5 days. If it was the US and TSA he would have been interrogated for a week, shipped to various detention cells to make sure he wasnt a terrorist then put on a fly risk register so he gets strip searched on every US flight for the next 10 years.

  6. Graham Wilson
    Flame

    Shame the West isn't as proactive about antisocial phone behaviour.

    As a person who finds mobile telephones just another intrusion into one's life, being able to get away from them in the past, at least for a while whilst on an aircraft, has been a pleasure.

    Why people can't switch off and totally ignore their smartphones for at least a few hours and preoccupy themselves with something else I find very strange--and very annoying when their disruptive behaviour personally affects me.

    After all, we can survive without them you know! As a species, we've come through the past several hundred millennia, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and most of the 20-Century including two world wars--which we organised, ran and executed--being the biggest organisational operations humanity has ever undertaken--all without the damn mobile phone.

    In years to come, this addiction to legal 'electronic heroin' will be seen for the problem that it truly has become.

    In the meantime those of us who've already past this point in the evolution of our species have to suffer whilst we wait for those modern 'neanderthals' amongst us to catch up.

    P.S.: I mean no disrespect to neanderthals, thus the quotes.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Shame the West isn't as proactive about antisocial phone behaviour.

      To be fair, we also did most of those things without the airplane, either.

      1. William Gallafent
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Shame the West isn't as proactive about antisocial phone behaviour.

        Well, we've had aircraft since the rennaissance … for some definition of “had” ;) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Design_for_a_Flying_Machine.jpg !

        You're right though, we didn't have aeroplanes for most of those events, though we did use them in both world wars, and we didn't for the industrial revolution or the enlightenment … :/

      2. Graham Wilson

        @DougS -- Re: Shame the West isn't as proactive about antisocial phone behaviour.

        "To be fair, we also did most of those things without the airplane, either."

        ...But certainly not WWII. My point was that society has organised truly ginormous events and done so effectively without the mobile/cell phone. If you actually want to know just how truly extensive aircraft use was in WWII then check here (start at about 06: mins in, exact reference at 06:38):

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFSPHfZQpIQ&playnext=1&list=PL6F7C922213EC685A&feature=results_main

        If you're really keen then you'd watch the whole video and see how the cellular radio concept was used decades before mobile phones became practically feasible.

        1. DougS Silver badge
          Trollface

          @Graham Re: @DougS

          You may want to check your dictionary for the meaning of the word "most".

    2. dotdavid
      WTF?

      Re: Shame the West isn't as proactive about antisocial phone behaviour.

      "including two world wars--which we organised, ran and executed--being the biggest organisational operations humanity has ever undertaken--all without the damn mobile phone."

      Yes, just think how much worse off we would have been if everyone in those wars had thought 'screw it, I'd rather play Angry Birds' and fiddled with their smartphones instead of doing all that lovely fighting and dying.

    3. Psyx

      Re: Shame the West isn't as proactive about antisocial phone behaviour.

      "Shame the West isn't as proactive about antisocial phone behaviour."

      Thanks, but I'd rather have people being a pain in the ass with phones than I would have them spitting constantly in the streets!

    4. Craig 12

      Re: Shame the West isn't as proactive about antisocial phone behaviour.

      "Why people can't switch off and totally ignore their smartphones for at least a few hours and preoccupy themselves with something else I find very strange--and very annoying when their disruptive behaviour personally affects me."

      Why do you preoccupy yourself with what people preoccupy themselves with?

      I fly a lot, and have never seen anything that would even remotely classify as "disruptive behaviour" originating from a mobile phone. Are you talking about people not switching to silent mode?

      Have you ever used in-ear headphones? I use mine most flights these days, and I can't even hear the jet engines (or annoying announcements or other "boings"). I also find they help my ears recover much faster from the pressure.

      1. Graham Wilson

        @ Craig 12 -- Re: Shame the West isn't as proactive about antisocial phone behaviour.

        "Have you ever used in-ear headphones?"

        Headphones no problem, it's when they yack on them to others oblivious to those around them. Sorry, I thought that'd be obvious.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ Graham

          "...it's when they yack on them to others oblivious to those around them. Sorry, I thought that'd be obvious."

          The article makes no mention of this guy talking on his phone. It says he used his phone to take pictures and listen to MP3s. While not clear on this point, I think it's possible his phone might have been on airplane mode too - which would make it impossible to talk to anyone with it.

          So no... not obvious, and in my experience extremely rare for folks to be making calls during a flight even when it's available.

          That said, no disagreement on the idiots who ramble on their phone with complete disregard to others an their surroundings (Trigger Happy TV style).

          1. Vic

            Re: @ Graham

            > airplane mode too - which would make it impossible to talk to anyone with it.

            You've not met my missus, have you?

            She talks to her sister in Swansea every Saturday morning, and I've no idea why they bother with the phone...

            Vic.

    5. CCCP
      FAIL

      Re: Shame the West isn't as proactive about antisocial phone behaviour.

      @Graham Wilson

      Fail for (1) incurring Godwin's Law by association and (2) deviation from the subject.

      1. Graham Wilson
        Facepalm

        @CCCP -- Re: Shame the West isn't as proactive about antisocial phone behaviour.

        Fail on item 2 perhaps, it's a matter of opinion.

        But "Godwin's Law by association"? Really?

        Come on, I've been accused of that in the past and pleaded guilty. However, here not even the contorted mind of a Times crossword addict could link a viable connection.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      Re: Shame the West isn't as proactive about antisocial phone behaviour.

      Sorry Mr Wilson, have you not seen the recent articles where several smartphone-using eejits and celebutards were escorted from the plane due to their refusal to listen to flight crew telling them to switch their bloody devices off?

      The US is extremely picky about devices being left switched on on taxi, take-off and landing.

  7. NomNomNom

    that chinese website uses the old button 2 and select begin javascript override to prevent you copy pasting the text. In case someone tries to steal their laws I guess.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @NonNomNom

      No probs for a tecy savvy user like you - just stop scripting from amending context sensitive menus, or turn it off altogether. Admittedly that's undoubtedly another offence in China, so you'll not be wanting to visit the country after you've done your cut n paste.

      Top comment re mordor, BTW.

    2. dssf

      is there a way in a mobile to bypass that?

      Or, is it really up the the app and the version of java or javascript in it?

  8. AceRimmer1980
    WTF?

    As far as I can tell..

    ..he wasn't actually using the phone to make calls, he was taking photos and playing music. If he was using a digital camera or an MP3 player, would that've been OK? Most smartphones these days are sold as all-in-one devices, to save carrying around separate gizmos.

    Does the airline training only go so far as 'phones are bad, mkay'? I've been on quite a few airlines, and they usually say something like 'switch your phone to flight mode now' midflight. If I was reading a work-related PDF, or playing Angry Birds, with no sound or radios active, how is that affecting anyone else?

    1. TheRealRoland
      Unhappy

      Re: As far as I can tell..

      There we go again...

      >how is that affecting anyone else?

      That's not the point. The rule is : switch off the phone.

      Do not argue about that. So, Switch off the phone.

      If you don't like that rule, find another airline that does not use that rule. Simple.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As far as I can tell..

      That is irrelevant. If the rule on Air China is "thou shalt not use your mobile phone in flight, regardless of whether it has a flight mode or not", then you follow the rules.

      No ifs, no buts, no whys. YOU LISTEN AND OBEY. Simple. If you don't like it, don't fly them.

      Comparing Air China to "quite a few airlines" is comparing apples to oranges. What airlines in the West do (or don't) does not mean that airlines from the East will allow (or not). If the Chinese authorities or Air China management do not allow mobile phones to be used, then that is their prerogative, and when you step onto that plane, you accept their authority, not trot out the "oh, but quite a few airlines I've been on don't do this" excuse.

  9. Andrew Moore
    Coat

    Heh...

    "ignoring Du’s pleas that it was a big fuss over nothing"

    Or "Much a-Du about nothing"...

  10. dssf

    Maybe he has an unrooted China or Japan or Korea type phone that makes the shutter click..

    By law, to deter perv shots, all phones and cameras in tablets must make that sound. It probably was annoying the shit out of some of the passengers.

    While i agree with the anti-perv law, the shutter clicks cause by cloistered girls and young women, and even mutual-admiration males, those clicks are enffuckingraging after a while. Depending on the volume of the device, even headphones do not help.

    1. Gr0nk

      Re: Maybe he has an unrooted China or Japan or Korea type phone that makes the shutter click..

      "enffuckingraging"

      Is your real name Eight Ace?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    After having been there myself

    I am surprised that this was noticed let alone punished. Rules normally followed about phone use, seatbelts, etc were routinely ignored when I was there recently.

  12. NBCanuck
    Facepalm

    Phone or Behavior?

    I agree with a comment from a previous poster - It may not have been entirely about the phone and rather more about the person being intrusive to other passenger's. The person may have been moving about a lot and snapping pictures (maybe with a flash) and was disrupting other passengers.

    Then again maybe it was about the phone. The person may have had the latest Droid/iPhone and was all about the "look at me" and "look what I can do". People in this mode can be very annoying.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It gets worse

    Having just returned from a business trip to somewhere in the Middle East, flying on an aircraft belonging to the national carrier of that country, I was horrified by the behaviour of the passenger sittting next to me.

    He was using his phone (texting) during takeoff. He used it to make voice calls (no WiFi) during the flight using the carrier in the country on the ground. When I had a word with the cabin crew, they just shrugged their shoulders and pointed out that at least 10 more people were doing the same. Then they muttered 'Inshallah, we don't crash'.

    I watched the moving map and counted the seconds bedore his phone went 'beep' when we moved into another country. It went mad over the border between Slovenia/Austria/Croatia/Italy and again over Brussels.

    He was still texting when we landed at LHR...

    This is the last time I shall fly with that airline. It will be BA for me from now on, but before how long?

  14. Antoine Dubuc
    Mushroom

    Believe it or not

    He was just being an arrogant ass making all those nice girls lose way too much face. So they slapped him back with their FSB. If he'd been nice about it, none of us would be reading about this. If only some people could learn some manners...

  15. GotThumbs
    Boffin

    Passengers DO NOT OWN the planes. Buy/Rent your own if you don't like the rules.

    Regardless of what any individual believes, when asked by an employee of the airline to comply with a request, they must do so. If you don't like the idea of this....its simple. Buy or rent your own plane. When your actions/choices could affect the lives of many others...your self serving attitude does not take top priority.

    The number of ignorant fools who think they are above established rules/expectations is growing exponentially.

    Just wish there was a place we could send people like this guy. I'd like to see how they survive on their own and in their own society when they are responsible for themselves. I have a feeling chaos would ensue.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    The Guy Is Lucky.

    He's lucky he wasn't taken out and shot.

    After a fair trial. But before the plane landed.

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: The Guy Is Lucky.

      Just tell him to step outside and walk the rest of the way.

  17. John Tserkezis

    I'm surprised they bothered policing that at all.

    Next thing you know, they're paying attention to Quality Control, and actually pay for their licenceable software.

    Naw, never going to happen.

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