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January 19, 2005

Rant on Airline Smartphone Policy

Have you come to hate the airlines, yet? I attended the 2005 Power Marketing Annual Conference last week. On the return flight, I was using my Treo 600 smartphone. Suddenly, the flight attendant asked if my PDA had a cell phone in it. Of course, I said yes. Then, she informed me that I could not use any device that contained a cell phone anytime during the flight. I asked if that was the case even if the phone connectivity was turned off. She said yes. I asked if this was a new policy and she stated that has always been their policy. To be fair, she had announced that policy during pre-flight announcements. I assumed I could use it if the phone connectivity was shut off.

Needless to say, I was disappointed. I’m not an expert on radio frequencies and electromagnetic forces; however, I don’t see the harm in using a PDA on a flight. In fact, the man next to me continued using his non-smartphone PDA. What’s the difference? If the cell phone connectivity is shut off, the two devices should have the same effect. I think they're going too far.

So, I’m curious whether anyone else has had a similar experience. Please post your comments on The PDA Pro blog or trackback back to this site. I’m not sure how other airlines are handling this. I would appreciate any comments.

On a side note, I noticed increased security at every location. During a week long trip, which included travel out of the U.S., I was required to show some form of identification over 50 times. Have we gone security crazy or what? I’m beginning to wonder whether this added security is really worthwhile. Any terrorist worth their salt is simply going to cross the border along the thousands of miles of unguarded border. This added scrutiny provides a false sense of security for law abiding citizens. I would hazard a guess that these efforts are beginning to have an adverse effect on trade with other countries.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution at this time. I will have to examine this issue more closely. It appears that airlines are being overly cautious in relation to PDAs. I will pursue a change in airline industry policy. It certainly makes me think twice about business travel. Maybe a teleconference would be better. I'll check with teleconference expert Gordon Clarke from iPowerPlex for suggestions.

BoingBoing has written a post, "Why is American Airlines gathering written dossiers on fliers' friends?" detailing further security measures.

Small Business Trends warns we will see even more emphasis on safety and security. Unfortunately, it appears things are getting worse, not better.

January 19, 2005 at 10:01 AM in Business Travel | Permalink

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