back to article In-flight fight for stubborn iPhone-loving teen

A teenager who refused to turn off his iPhone during the landing of a plane got a punch from a fellow passenger for his trouble. Police in Boise, Idaho, the flight's desination, arrested the alleged assailant, 68-year-old Russell Miller. Miller reportedly became angry when the 15-year-old, who was listening to music and …

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  1. g e

    Kid was a terrorist

    As you're supposed to turn your gadgets off for 'the safety of the plane, crew & passengers', presumably, the kid was obviously a terrorist.

    Pensioner's lawyer should argue he was a simple patriot trying to thwart a terror attack, kid should be stuck in Gitmo and thrashed hourly.

    1. Graham Wilson
      Flame

      @g e - It amounted to an attack on his person - 'twas simply self defence.

      Moreover, putting his and other passengers lives at risk by disobeying the cabin crew AND having to sit near the sibilant noise emanating from those devices without having anywhere to escape from, has to amount to an attack on his person, thus he was simply acting in self defence.

      Personally, when I hear such stories words like "the stocks", "rotten tomatoes", "all day Saturday", and "no IPhone for a month" immediately spring to mind.

      Spoiled brats.

    2. streaky
      Linux

      titletitletitletitletitletitle

      I assume this is all sarcasm given that phones pose no risk to anybody anywhere. If you can really down an aircraft with an iPhone why aren't they just plain banned?

      That said I regularly get the urge to punch iJoy users on the tube so I can see where the guy is comming from...

      1. Naughtyhorse
        Joke

        If you can really down an aircraft with an iPhone.....

        i believe theres an app for that

  2. Anomalous Cowturd
    Paris Hilton

    Pity poor Barbara...

    "I don't think it's ever appropriate to touch another person physically," said Barbara of Boise.

    What, EVER?

    Obviously a virgin.

  3. Dazed and Confused

    And what about the refusenik?

    So what is happening to the lab who refused to obey the rules? Are they prosecuting him?

    I once had the misfortune to fly to Geneva next to Peter Mandleson while he was an EU commissioner. When the stewardess came round asking us to turn off electronic gadgets and remove our head phones, he just ignored her. She came back and asked him again, he grudgingly removed his headphones, only to put them back in the moment her back was turned. A short while later she tried again. Same response, ear phones out, ear phones back in.

    I didn't realised I was supposed to hit him!

    1. James 12
      Flame

      How did you not know

      I would have thought not punching the bag of corruption that is Mandelson was crime against humanity

    2. David Dawson
      Coat

      RE:And what about the refusenik?

      It was PETER MANDELSON! Of course you were supposed to hit him!

    3. The FunkeyGibbon
      Thumb Up

      Dude, it's was Mandleson...

      You were supposed to choke the every loving shit out of him with he headphone cord. It'd have been a mercy killing. For us, not him obviously. :-)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mandleson

      Well yes, you were OBVIOUSLY supposed to punch him, (unfortunately being on a plane, you would have had to refrain from giving him a good kicking once he was down tho).

    5. Grufff
      FAIL

      You've let us down, and you've let yourself down.

      It was PETER MANDLESON, you're supposed to hit him anyway. Jeez.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      @Dazed and Confused

      You were supposed to hit him. But not just for the headphone incident. I know if I had the misfortune to sit next to Mandelson I would have a really hard time not just punching him for existing. And screwing up the country. And being hideously corrupt. And all his other numerous failings.

    7. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Baseball bats

      I knew there was a reason for stopping you taking one on a flight, you might be 'fortunate' enough to sit next to a sleazy spin-doctor and find a use for it!

    8. GrahamT
      Joke

      I might be wrong..

      ...but I believe the default condition with Peter Mandelson, is to hit him.

    9. Hollerith 1

      You should have just hit him

      Just for being Mandelson.

    10. eezatehgeeza
      FAIL

      Surely...

      ...the correct response to being within 3ft of Mandy is to hit him. A double fail in my - often not very - humble opinion. :-D

    11. Rob
      Thumb Up

      If you had hit him...

      ... I would have studied law, passed my bar exam and got you off the charges, the least I could do for you providing a public service.

    12. Anonymous Coward
      Pirate

      The Dark Lord!

      Report him (annon of course) to the TSA. That will get him on the 'No Fly List'.

      He's lucky that it wasn't an American Carrier. The Air Marshall would have had him on the floor and in cuffs in a flash Lord M or no Lord M.

    13. hplasm
      Thumb Up

      He's Peter Mandelson-

      Of course you are supposed to hit him.

    14. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Offence?

      Isn't it a Federal offence to refuse reasonable requests from the cabin crew such as switching off electronic devices?

    15. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      You what?

      How on Earth can you not realise you were meant to hit Peter Mandelson? He was breathing and within an arm's length!

    16. Snapper
      FAIL

      I'm sorry

      You were in a position to drop the ultimate shit from a great height and you didn't take it!

      Shame on you!

    17. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      Be fair....

      Mandy was working hard..... memorizing the lines that the music industry had given him to learn

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    preventing criminal acts

    Don't they charge these clowns with a trillion $ fine and criminal charges? .... so he was just preventing a crime from happing.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    "I didn't realised I was supposed to hit him!"

    It's Peter Mandleson FFS, who needs an excuse.

    Anyway, surely he's used to being punched at random.

    1. Mark 65

      In flight entertainment

      I'm picturing an act similar to one in an action movie. Lead actor leans forward pretending to tie shoe lace or something and springs back elbowing passenger in the face. The joy that would bring.

  6. Chris 211

    Typical

    Its the do-gooder that gets the punishment. A quiet word from the police, "Mr you went a bit far" then the police should have charged the kid with endangering an aircraft, a rather serious offence.

  7. Aaron Em

    Twats all round, then?

    Not really seeing a victim here.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    "Maybe I overreacted"

    No. Sounds like you gave him the proper beating he deserves.

    Okay we all know this "turn off your phone" stuff is (probably) bunk but come on. Can you not sit quietly for 10 minutes while they land the plane? It's not exactly a difficult request, if you had any imagination at all you would be able to keep yourself quietly amused without gadgets. But no, it seems people today have a pathological hatred of thinking for themselves.

    If you're going to stand up for yourself, resist the naked body scanners and the grope downs, don't resist the stewardess, you fucker!

    1. Mark 65

      What's more

      He only smacked him in the arm. I was thinking irate passenger, US flight, had to have popped him in the chops. Bet the little shit whinged like buggery.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Guffaw

    As much as i doubt that modern electronics devices cause disruption to a modern planes electronics systems, rules ARE rules and the little gobshite got exactley what he deserved.

    The better (in retrospect) course of action would have been to punch the device itself. Criminal damage tends to carry a lesser bollocking than tonking someone.

    Good on the old geezer. 'Bout time the "yoof of today" learned a few basic manners.

    I assume it has a pause button????

    1. Velv
      Coffee/keyboard

      Not just electronic interference

      Assuming said NED is sitting in the aisle seat, wearing headphones (with volume presumbaly set at teen level) would prevent him from hearing any emergency announcments (such as EVACUATE). He would therefore be endangering the lives of those sitting window side from him.

  10. Jeff 10
    Jobs Horns

    It is Steve Jobs' Fault...

    ...for creating a product so compelling that the kid couldn't put it down.

  11. Arctic fox
    Flame

    Why does my hand start to itch when I read about.........

    ...............a FIFTEEN year old with a fucking iPhone (how has some nauseating little teeny got his revolting mitts on a high-end smart phone?) and the fact that he ignored the cabin crew's instructions? Why am I really sorry that our pensioner did not give him a real smack where it would do most good? Furthermore why do I want to give that NASTY little toe-rag's parents a bloody good kicking?

    Excuse me, I think I had better lie down for a while - in a darkened room with a wet towel on my forehead.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      age?

      Age really has nothing to do with it....a 15 year old will probably make use of more of its features than the average business exec...

      We got our 14 year old daughter a Judas phone 3gs this year, on a 2 year contract for a little more than we were paying for top ups for her LG viewerty PAYG phone...

      Why?

      Well, for one we can afford it, we work hard and like to pass that wealth on to our child. Second, she had achieved excellent results in her school work the year before so we felt that she deserves a reward for that. As she wanted an Judas phone she could have one!

      What’s wrong with that lesson? Work hard, never late, work well above the national average at school and you get the nicer things in life without resorting to bashing grannies for pension books.

      The government should spend a little more money on rewarding the kids that do well and behave themselves than on funding schemes for the feral yoof.... as they don’t, we do, and after all she is our responsibility.

      I would have to say as well, when we fly to our holiday destination, as soon as the call comes around to switch phones etc off, she will not need to be told twice. Another reason why we feel justified in spending our money on expensive gadgets, she does as she is told!

      You come across as a very jealous person that a young kid has stuff that you would like to own but have failed to place yourself in a economic position to afford it... Maybe the kid did need a poke...

      The bloke would have been in less trouble if he had knocked the fondle slab out of his hands and broke it. The key is to make it look like an accident!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Totally agree

      If the end result is the little shit getting patted on the head for getting a mild slap on the arm and a (presumably) morally upright person getting a jail sentence...........

      where does that leave the passengers who stopped Richard Reid (the shoe bomber) from setting fire to his shoelaces?

      Presumably in the slammer with him?

    3. An-D
      Jobs Halo

      I guess I'm going to hell then?

      My 8 year old son has an iPhone, but it is an old 3G that was first handed down to my wife when I got a 3GS and then down to The Boy when I upgraded to the 4 (and the 3GS was handed down to SWMBO)

      He plays games on it and I use it to tell him it's time to come home for tea when he's round the corner playing with his pals instead of standing at the front door whistling.

      He is neither spoilt or revolting or a toe rag. I have peace of mind that I can let him spread his wings a few more yards away from the house and keep in touch with him and satisfaction that an old phone has an extended life and he is learning the value of objects by taking good care of it.

      Do I qualify for a good kicking?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No danger at all.

    Unless the phone was transmitting:

    A: on a frequency reserved for A/G or A/A communications; or

    B: Strongly enough to cause jamming or induce eddy currents in communications or control systems;

    It is no more dangerous than a pacemaker.

    I don't think iPhones are physically capable of transmitting on the 120+/- MHz band, and they certainly aren't capable of being used as handheld EMP generators.

    Any device that was designed to interfere with landing would also be designed to appear off, so this rule can only apply to the (impossible) case of accidental interference.

    1. Lusty
      FAIL

      RE: No danger at all.

      "the (impossible) case of accidental interference."

      Although the phone may not transmit on the right frequency to interfere with the signal, phones are (as we all know) capable of interfering with many things. Put your phone even remotely near a speaker and you'll hear it. Now imagine that same noise coming through the same system you're getting landing information from, only instead of one phone there are several hundred.

      "Flight 237 please taxi to BIP BIPPETTY BIP BIP"

      "This is flight 237 please say again "

      "Flight 237 please BIP BIPPETTY BIP BIP BIP"

      "This is flight 237, I'll just guess because some kid has his iPhone on"

      There are many ways to interfere with communication, and stopping the signal getting through is just one of them. Also, the reason you're not allowed headphones in during takeoff/landing is to ensure you can hear the important stuff the flight attendants and crew are saying which may save your own life as well as others. This has nothing to do with interference.

      "please note that on this plane we have moved the O2 masks and lifejackets, their new location is..." or "to open the plane door in an emergency..."

      "It is no more dangerous than a pacemaker."

      AFAIK there are no pacemakers capable of transmitting over 1km so this is just nonsense. At best a pacemaker might interfere with the person in the next seat, but even then someone would have to tell it to start talking whereas a phone will sit there and chatter all day, increasing the power if the signal starts to drop for instance when it's further from a tower (In the air?)

    2. Edwin
      FAIL

      you're missing the point

      I don't think anyone is worried about the transmitting bit, though I am frequently gobsmacked by alleged adults who cannot control their crackberry/mobile addiction long enough to taxi to the gate (although I know many places let you use your phone as soon as the plane clears the runway).

      The point here is that if something goes wrong on landing, the little tyke won't be able to hear cabin crew instructions and may do something stupid, dangerous or both.

      I don't condone beating the little shite, but the parents have clearly overlooked something in the upbringing here (and yes, I am a parent too).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Its Not The Phone Transmitting

      Its about not listening to it so you can get situational awareness and listen to the cabin crew's commands should it all go pear shaped on landing.

      Of course, the only reason we should insist on this is so he can move out of the way so more deserving passengers can get out!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: No danger at all.

      You miss the point. It's a safety regulation, obeying safety regulations, and taking instruction from flight crew, is a condition of taking the flight - people don't get to decide if they can be bothered to comply.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You mean ...

      "I don't think iPhones are physically capable of transmitting on the 120+/- MHz band, and they certainly aren't capable of being used as handheld EMP generators."

      YOU MEAN -- there isn't an app for that?

      GASP!

      1. BorkedAgain

        Transmitting...

        Wouldn't that depend on how the little shi^H^H^H tyke was holding it?

  13. Arctic fox
    Grenade

    I am, by the way, strongly tempted to launch a website............

    ...........for the purposes of collecting funds to have a medal struck for our elderly friend

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      i would donate

      if you did actually set up such a site then I would be willing to donate some of my time and money in to help in this endeavour... not just for this one particular bloke, but to hand out honours to other individuals who stand up to the feral yoof and get shafted for their efforts....

  14. Bad Beaver
    WTF?

    Be concerned, go to jail

    Now that's some logic. A great illustration of why western "civilization" will come to an end rather soonish though. I am 31 and I feel old as hell reading this.

  15. 56young

    growup

    This old guy deserves a medal,the baby boy needs his bum wiped.What would happen if we all did our own thing when travelling.This old guy did the steward's job.I thought eletronic devises could mess up the planes eletronics.This old guy should be appauded and the smart "A" given some down time.Many of the kids today don't listen because they think they know it all until they fall on their "A s".The old guy gets my vote. 56young from Australia.

    1. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      @56young: I could not agree more mate!

      I note that some clearly feel that the kid's "freedom" was being imposed on or that they disagree with the rules about electronic equipment on planes. Well my view on this is that at the age of fifteen you cannot be held _fully_ accountable under the law for your actions. Unless our young "freedom lover" is willing to accept adult responsibility under the law for his actions OR his parents are willing to accept that responsibility (including accepting jail time themselves if he commits an offense that would be mean jail if an adult committed it) then he is NOT entitled to do as he likes. He is not in a position to take the view that the rules about electronic equipment are bollocks AND accept the legal consequences thereafter - he is a child. In fact he appears to be spectacularly spoil t child (high end smart phone at fifteen my arse!).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        How did he miss his face with the punch ?

        My teenage nephew has a "high end smart phone". He bought it second hand with money he'd earned himself through hard graft. His parents wouldn't have bought it for him so he went out and earned the money himself. The assumptions being made about him beng spoilt due to owning the phone are therefore baseless.

        However, the fact that he ignored the instructions of the cabin crew mean he deserved everything he got. The old guy should've left a mark on his face, not his arm for that one. When I fly I ALWAYS sit on the aisle to ensure that I don't get blocked in by idiots like that in the event of an emergency.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Make your mark

    "He punched him so hard there was a mark on the teen's arm,"

    Aww, did the poor little kiddie-widdie get a little bruisey-wusey?

  17. Andrew Foster

    What about prosecuting the kid?

    There is a Federal Law requiring air passengers to comply with the instructions of air crew. If they had announced over the intercom that all electronic devices must be turned off for final approach then if the kid did not do so he was in violation of Federal law.

    I'm not defending the actions of the pensioner who assaulted him, but the law needs to be applied equally and fairly.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prison?

    Are they serious? A jail sentence? Honestly, the US is just a mad country.

    They don't believe in social rights (no, that's giving freebies to people -- you have to earn *everything*). Health care, ha! That's all stitched up by the big corporations and we are doing rather well out of it, thank you very much (what, you have no money, then crawl off and die).

    But you have a right to own a gun and can shoot at will -- 'he could have been turning down my street to come and rob me, officer. So I shot the bl*k bas*d.'

    Don't tell me, if he does get a custodial sentence it will only be 25 years -- 'so you can think on what you did to that young dude.'

    Honestly. And they call themselves civilised!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Really?

      Before opening mouth it helps to have a clue. The US may have less restrictive laws on gun ownership, and some states conceal carry regulations could do with the addition of compulsory training, however there are quite strict laws about brandishing a weapon in a public place, let alone firing it.

      They'll let you own a gun, probably let you carry it, but if you shoot someone and it's not clear you were totally justified prepare to face the full weight of the law.

      Of course if you were fully justified in pulling the trigger, expect a firm handshake and a congratuation for a job well done! :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      maybe i'm the only one

      But what about the kids point of view, he was listening to music, ie headphones, probably stupidly loud, and staring at a game on his iphone.

      He 'ignored' a number of requests over the *intercom*, did he even hear them? From his point of view he might have been just sat there, minding his own business, when some old guy randomly walked up and punched him?

  19. a_been
    Paris Hilton

    fondle slab is getting tired

    I remember when no one cared about CE devices, then airline phones where introduced and suddenly "turn off all your shit" came in. Paint me cynical but if phones fuck with airplains, shouldn't thay affect "every fucking thing else". Wh dont hospitals sa "no phones when doing hart transplants" or banks say "ahh, ok, they lose money anyway, bad example".

    paris because she hasn't got a clue either

    1. Juillen 1

      Hospitals...

      Do have signs saying 'no mobiles' quite frequently. They're definitely not allowed near the operating rooms in the one I work at.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Phone cause interference - FACT

      Anything broadcasting an electromagnetic signal can cause interference. Mobile phones are a signal generator.

      o There was a spate of airbag deployments in BMWs (back when mobile phones and airbags were both "new").

      o Research did prove mobile phones could interfere with pacemakers, and certainly with other sensitive monitoring equipment in hospitals.

      o There was evidence of mobile phone interference causing a plane crash (can't remember where). The plane was on approach, then got put into a holding loop. Many passengers started phoning their loved ones waiting to pick them up, and the black box stated recording weird signals at the same time.

      o I've even witnessed a mobile phone being used to crash an old IBM Server 330 running OS/2. We used to wheel the demo out every time someone took their mobile into the data centre.

      Technology has moved on, the dangers are more understood and reduced, and mobile phones may now be safe. But sometimes the excuse confers other benefits - who wants to sit next to Dom Jolly on their next flight?

      <<nokia tune>> "HELLO. NO, I'M ON A PLANE. NO, IT'S RUBBISH WHAT? NO, THE FOOD IS TERRIBLE. YES, THE GUY NEXT TO ME SMELLS"

      While we continue to have air travel that the great unwashed can afford, I hope they continue to ban mobile phone use during the flight.

    3. Alpha Tony

      Um...

      ...I have no idea how it is state-side, but in the UK hospitals DO make you turn off your mobile phones because they can (allegedly) interfere with the instruments.

      Having said that so do petrol stations and as far as I am aware there has never been a case of a mobile phone causing a petrol station to explode!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Welcome

        no explosions....

        but I have known a phone to reset the pump halfway through delivery of fuel.... a full tank for £5..

    4. DJ 2
      Thumb Down

      I used to work in a chemical factory

      and all phones that were allowed on site had to be put in an oxygen chamber and called,

      if the phone survived one call you could use it on site. Hospitals have lots of oxygen around, usually on tap, I've been attached to an oxygen feed before now and it's come loose.

      Mobile phones can affect planes in two ways, the first and most important is the radio coms, the second and less important but still there is the GPS calibration that is done at certain airports.

      As for the drop down masks, what do they use in that, pure O2 or some mixture?

      The kid was endangering the crew and passengers, he should have been arrested when they landed.

  20. Joshua Sugarman
    WTF?

    Agree with the kid

    I fly regularly and to be honest I'm sick of being told to turn my gadgets off because they could interfere....

    If someone can show me some scientific evidence that an iPhone in flight mode playing Bejewelled could cause a jumbo jet to somehow explode, I'd happily turn it off...

    As it turns out, Not using the gadget during landing is for the same reason you shouldnt use your cell at a petrol station, or in the quiet carriage on a train - It's to not disturb other passengers. Now that, I agree with. If my music was too loud, I would happily turn it down...

    But when some blonde paris lookalike tells me that using my iphone will cause the plane to crash, I almost use it in protest of being lied to...

    As for the guy tapping/punching whatever, he gets everything he deserves (hopefully a court date). It's absolutely none of his business! Crazy story!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Safety

      I believe the reason you're told to turn them off is safety. Not some bullshit "for your own safety", but so if there's an emergency even some brat with an iphone knows what's going on and doesn't get in people's way.

      But as for the rest of the airline industry's attitude to their self-loading cargo, it's practically enough to make a t******** of anyone. (Censored cos I don't want to do a Paul Chambers.)

      Mine's the one with the b***.

    2. Stuart Moore
      Megaphone

      Real Reason

      The real reason they don't want you listening with headphones during take off/landing is that it's the time things are most likely to go wrong, and if they need to evacuate they want to make sure everyone can hear them clearly and not get tangled up in headphones etc. on the way out.

      But for obvious reasons this isn't what they say.

    3. westlake
      Pint

      It's not your decision to make.

      "I fly regularly and to be honest I'm sick of being told to turn my gadgets off because they could interfere....

      If someone can show me some scientific evidence that an iPhone in flight mode playing Bejewelled could cause a jumbo jet to somehow explode, I'd happily turn it off..."

      No one gives a damn that the need for the rule hasn't been proved to your personal satisfaction.

      But they will give a damn when they see a geek so obsessed with his gadgets that he ignores the orders of a captain and crew whose sole responsibilty is to see that no one aboard ends his days as a spec of blood on a runway.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Megaphone

      @ Joshua Sugarman

      'If someone can show me some scientific evidence that an iPhone in flight mode playing Bejewelled could cause a jumbo jet to somehow explode, I'd happily turn it off...'

      How much evidence would you like ? Would one crashed airliner with a couple of hundred dead passengers be enough of a reason to comply with the safety instructions ? Or maybe a couple of them, with several hundred dead bodies ?

      Shouty... because there are some people who need SHOUTING at... 15 year old kids with iPhones, along with others who publicly proclaim themselves to be "sick of being told to turn my gadgets off because they could interfere...." being two of them :-)

    5. Sil_W

      Not relevant

      "I fly regularly and to be honest I'm sick of being told to turn my gadgets off because they could interfere...."

      Then don't fly. Or don't take your damn gadgets. Or get a grip and do as the flight staff tell you, as you're required to do by law. Whether you want to obey the law really isn't relevant.

  21. duhiphone
    FAIL

    another old idiot

    the old guy is just another idiot... the "no electronic devices" warning is for devices that emit any kind of signal. the kid more than likely had his iphone in the AIRPLANE MODE setting you idiots. turns all signal emitting peripherals off. the kid knew about it because he young, the old guy didnt because hes old... end of story OLD PEOPLE+TECHNOLOGY=FAIL

    1. Juillen 1

      Airplane mode..

      You know, that mode that lets you use the phone on an airplane while it's in flight (without sending out a full power network discovery signal), and there are no extra restrictions.. Like, you know, the restriction when the cabin crew turn round and say "please turn off ALL electronic devices.".

      Know your tech, and the rules.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Boffin

        its not just about

        its not just about network descovery signals that may or may not interfere with the airoplanes systems... while its shut down the mobile network trancever it is saving a shit load of battery power so your phone will still have enough juice to make a call before you get to your hotel/home...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Or not...

      The FAA say that all electronic devices must be turned off during takeoff or landing, and no radio devices may be used, so you can use your fondleslab during the flight as long as it's in aeroplane mode apart from takeoff or landing.

      The reason for this is quite simple, takeoff and landing are the most hazardous times during the flight and because no-one will test *every* possible device against every plane for possible interference it's easier just to turn everything off during the times it could pose a problem.

      Almost certainly overcautious, but no-one is willing to bet a plane load of people it'll be fine every time!

      So whilst the risk to the aircraft was almost certainly negligible he was in breach of the law, a law there to protect the passengers on the plane, and how hard is it really to turn off your kit for the 10 minutes you spend twice in a flight while the plane attempts to interface with the ground at over a hundred MPH?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      All electronic devices

      Actually the requirement is to turn off *all* electronic devices on landing, not just the ones that overtly emit signals. The 'flight mode' is what enables you to use your phone for non-phone purposes at cruising altitude. Whether this is a technologically sensible rule is another matter, but that's how it stands at the moment. Young people + full comprehension of the real world = FAIL.

    4. Chris Parsons Bronze badge

      It would seem

      Your ignorant post is not overly popular.

    5. JamMak
      Thumb Down

      RE: another old idiot

      If you've ever flown, you would know they ask you to turn off /all/ electronic equipment during take-off and landing. MP3 Players, Diskmans, the lot. Non-transmitting devices (i.e. mobiles in 'flight mode') can be used during flight.

      Grow up a bit... "end of story"

    6. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      asshole

      another know it all who doesnt see the big picture.....its not just about interferrance..

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hit Him?

    You shouldnt need any reason to hit Lord Mandelson. He's a dirty schemer!

  23. mafoo
    Troll

    back at school...

    the kid can proudly boast he was beat up by a pensioner.

    1. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      It would have been even better had the aforementioned pensioner had.......

      ............mugged him for his iPhone - how cool would that have been at school? Talk about street cred - or errrr perhaps not!

  24. Dave 52

    Old fart is upset he is old, and can't control the world around him

    That geezer was just looking for a reason to punch the kid, and I hope he spends some time in jail so he can get smacked around by someone his own size. That electronics on the plane rule is BS, and even the pilots know it. At worse, you're screwing yourself over by not paying attention to what's going on around you, and might not realize it's time to get into emergency landing position before the plane crashes.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
      WTF?

      15 years old...

      ... is not a kid. End of story.

    2. Evan Essence
      FAIL

      At worse you kill everyone

      AT WORSE you don't hear the announcements to evacuate, get in people's way, then panic, cause a stampede, and no-one gets out alive. So you can listen to some music.

  25. Action

    US Law is in contradiction

    Since when is punching someone as an act to save lives a criminal offense? The 68 YO should be considered a hero. Or does that not suit the US political agenda at this time?

    The US Law and Government are in complete contradiction to itself.

    When patriotism is forced upon every American now all of a sudden its a crime??

    Clearly the US have No Idea of what they do. The sooner they loose global power the better.

    I will never fly to the US ever again!! It's just too unstable for my liking. I'd feel safer traveling to Iraq or Africa than in the US.

  26. Craig 28

    Re:Mandelson

    He's a special case, you're always supposed to hit him... headphones or not.

  27. Winkypop Silver badge
    Joke

    Obviously the WRONG thing to do

    Everyone knows it's best to STEP OUTSIDE if you are going to start a fight.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    You're assuming he could HEAR the announcement

    If he had earplugs in he probably couldn't even hear the announcement, so the idea that he was somehow in the wrong and they needed to hit the eject button on him is way out of line, as was the a-hole who hit him. Send the old-timer to chokey.

  29. John Savard Silver badge

    Confusing

    If someone is doing something dangerous that is putting the lives of everyone on the airplane at risk, using the necessary force to subdue him and end the danger should be legal. This isn't a question of taking the law into your own hands, this is an emergency situation.

    Now, if the announcement was a lie, that's the airline's responsibility.

  30. Diesel Fitter

    Safety?

    I wonder if anyone has actually put 400 mobile phones in a modern airliner and measured their effect on the avionic systems.

    Maybe you should turn off your MP3 player for your own safety. If the crew announce that the plane has a problem I'd like to hear the announcement rather than blotting out the world with a mixture of loud music and Angry Birds.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Really?

    I always ignore rules I class as "bloody stupid" including the one about not using my MP3 player when the plane is landing/taking off. It isn't going to interfere with the plane, and it's just another method used to keep you frightened on a plane.

    1. Sil_W

      Bloody Stupid

      Your tremendously irresponsible attitude to safety rules - ignore them if you personally don't agree with them - betrays an utterly self-centered and rather arrogant approach to other people.

      The rules exist because there is *some question* about whether it's safe to use these devices during the most delicate sections of a flight: namely, takeoff and landing. Now it's quite possible that there is no risk and, if you think about it logically, the fact that you're allowed to use them on planes at all, at any time, probably suggests that the powers that be don't consider them too great a risk. If these companies honestly thought that an MP3 player was really going to bring an expensive airliner full of paying passengers down, they wouldn't pussyfoot around.

      So before we start proving our manliness by brushing off silly laws that don't meet our personal approval, we might take a moment to consider how much more tyrannical things could be.

      Still, as others have mentioned, there are other sensible reasons why it might be a bad idea to opt for obliviousness while we're trusting our lives to the aviation industry. But if nothing else, it's worth spending a moment to think about the hundreds of other people sharing the plane with us. Is it really such a hardship to take a few basic steps to help them feel safer? I'd suggest it's our duty to do so while we're all trapped in a metal can thirty thousand feet in the air... It's really no inconvenience to comply with simple instructions even if we personally don't see the need for them.

      We have rules because we're a society. Sometimes we don't agree with the rules. If we're social animals then, assuming the rules aren't threatening us in some significant way, we'll obey them anyway; there are ways and means to get rules changed. If we're not social, then we'll do as we please because we honestly can't see the worth in other purple and are focused solely on ourselves at all times.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Could it be ...

    that you'll be quite close to the ground, things will happen pretty quickly and if the cap'n shouts "KISS YOUR ASS GOODBYE...." errr... "BRACE BRACE". If you have headphones in you won't necessarily hear it/be able to react quickly enough?

    However, being thousands of feet up in the air, you may notice something after a couple of seconds?

    We all know that the plane won't explode because someone fired up angry birds, but the plane *is* still moving quite quickly!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    i doubt...

    i doubt that the phone/fondle slab will place the aircraft in any direct danger from interference. But to argue it’s because of the loss of revenue from chargeable services the airline provides, these are switched off when the plane is landing too....

    The bigger issue is if the undercarriage fails on landing, said phone could be flung out of your hands into the back of someone’s head. An incident that could very well be survivable could easy become a fatality. Plains are at most risk during landing and takeoff so again makes sense to demand they are switched off and put away.

    Another issue is that it is against the law to track the flight path of a plain on its approach or departure from the airport. With GPS on phones these days that’s a simple task, but in the past achievable by triangulating the signal from the phone.

    When its your own plane then make your own rules, otherwise, switch the damn thing off...

  34. Chrissy
    Stop

    Why stow stuff away?

    A lot on here are misunderstanding the key reasons for the stowing objects at takeoff and landing rules and siding with the boy (eg AC who wrote "No danger at all" and Joshua Sugarman's "Agree with the kid"); its only partially down to EM interference:

    Landing and takeoff are the only points in the flight where the acc- and de-celaration forces could be unpredictable and unexpected, and what you don't want is several 200g objects flying around in the event of an aborted takeoff; at speed, 200g imparts kilos of force, hence why those objects should be stowed.

    And in an emergency evac - eg Manchester - when you are trying to squeeze 100 or so people of varying mobility through 6 small openings in less than 90 secs, what is likely to make that job far more difficult? 100 separate headphone cables all waiting to become trip hazards, or people not moving quickly enough as they didn't hear the first EVACUATE shout due to listening to music.

    And coming back to the EM interference - ever hear that chirruping when you leave your phone near many devices? Times that by 100 separate phones all on max gain trying to contact a base station and imagine the cacophony for the aircrew, especially when they are in the stages of flight where the most requests for changes in direction and altitude are requested. One misheard call and your aircraft is in conflict with others all moving at 250mph where stuff happens verrryyy quickly.

    We are techies, we know how to put our devices in flight mode. Most people don't, and would just go "huh?" if you asked them how to set that mode on their device.

    Unless you think that cabin crew should impractically check each individual device at either end of a flight, then a blanket "devices off" policy is the only way to get the quick turnaround times that are required to deliver your cheap ticket.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Epic Fail

    Stupid kid should have his Iphone taken away, on the grounds of "endangering an aircraft".

    I'd also advise a fairly large fine, say equivalent to about a month's earnings.

    AC, because I'd been sitting next to this muppet the Iphone's headphones would have been plugged into the nearest mains socket...

  36. SpamCaninsta
    WTF?

    To those ignorant of real world aviation

    I fly little airplanes (cessna, morane, piper etc). I do carry my mobile phone, and have on occasion used it. I can 100% confirm that it does cause interference in my industry standard Dave Clark headset - the same "dittity-dit,dittity-ditdittity-dit" as you get when you leave your phone next to unshielded speakers. It's not a problem when bimbling around, but is a serious problem if I'm talking to a busy ATC. So I generally fly with it off.

    Yes, your average airliner's comms are thoroughly shielded and the source is further away, but just think about this. An A380 with 550 pax all using their devices with antenna on them as you approach somewhere fun like La Guardia. Do you want to bet your life on the fact that not a single one of those devices hasn't developed a fault and is TXing wildly on an unexpected frequency? Multiply that by the millions of flights you have per year and that's why the FAA took the precautionary approach. I dare guess that none of the nah-sayers actually qualified RF engineers.

    Absolutely, it's pretty unlikely an electronics device would be the sole cause of a flight incident - but there is almost never a single cause of a flight failure (even in a humble Cessna 152). The old analogy is about all the holes in the cheese lining up. I know, I've read pretty much every CAA crash report going back to the early 90's.

    Oh and before someone starts whining about airliner's own satphones - they are certified for inflight use and part of the aircraft; hence must checked by engineers. Are you 100% sure some 15 yr old's Made in China iPhone clone is?

  37. Robert Heffernan

    This Is A Title

    While the rules are the rules, and you really should be following them while flying on a plane, there hasn't been any reports (than I know of) of passenger electronic equipment interfering with flight control systems. Modern aircraft are designed with all sorts of shielding and redundant systems that are extremely well engineered due to the number of people on board.

    The bad idea is including LAN connections in the aircraft for passenger use, and the fact that this LAN does find it's way back to the flight control systems, with a firewall in the way. This is a really bad design, and any passenger LAN needs to be removed, or physically disconnected from the flight systems.

  38. Jonas Taylor
    WTF?

    How backwards

    Aren't laws meant to reflect the moral values of a society? If so then the man should be rewarded for challenging the kid who was ignoring the rules, not punished. Is there really no consideration for common sense?

  39. Johan Bastiaansen

    probably...

    the best educational experience the punk ever had.

    Good to know you'll be charged if you tap someone on the shoulder. Might as well knock his teeth out then.

  40. Anonymous John

    Want to be assaulted?

    We've got an app for that.

  41. Linbox
    Stop

    Ageism at work

    I wonder if the victim would have been so reviled if they were a 25-year old girl instead of a 15-year old boy?

    There is something wrong with a country that so hates it's youth.

    Happy new year.

    1. Sil_W
      Thumb Down

      Hates its youth?

      I'd say it's a pretty big stretch to go from seeing justified condemnation of one self-centred child to claiming hatred of the nation's youth. And it's easy to throw '-isms' around, but unless there's some evidence to support the assumption they're based on they don't hold much water. Your accusation of ageism here (along with the implied claim of sexism you added by making your hypothetical older person female) doesn't wash until there's a similar incident involving that 25-year-old woman.

      For what it's worth to you, yes, I'd be just as critical of a female, of whatever age, who put her own immediate desires above her responsibility to the law and the people around her. In my view, the 'something' that's wrong with the country (and I speak of the UK here, because it's where I live) isn't hatred of youth: it's the ridiculously overblown sense of entitlement that people (including youth) are developing, and the increasing rejection of basic manners and social awareness that seems to go with it.

      Thank you, and a happy new year to you too.

  42. JDX Gold badge
    Grenade

    Hmm

    Nice to know the masses are in favour of a grown man assaulting A CHILD for acting like A CHILD. That's what CHILDREN do.

    Grabbing the phone and turning it off would be more appropriate, not some attempt to give him a dead arm as you lose your self-control.

    Also... if the phone was in airline mode, what on earth is the problem? Why do I have to turn off an MP3 player or eBook reader for landing, even one which has no networking abilities whatsoever? My watch might have WiFi, but they never ask me to turn it off.

    1. Sil_W
      Thumb Down

      "Why do I have to..."

      "Nice to know the masses are in favour of a grown man assaulting A CHILD for acting like A CHILD. That's what CHILDREN do."

      What CHILDREN do is act like CHILDREN. What PARENTS should do is *control* their CHILDREN. I see no mention of the parents supervising this CHILD.

      Why're we capitalising CHILD, incidentally?

      "Grabbing the phone and turning it off would be more appropriate, not some attempt to give him a dead arm as you lose your self-control."

      I agree completely. Assault probably wasn't the proportional response here - other commenters have already suggested that letting the crew handle it might have been more appropriate. Nevertheless, this doesn't excuse the selfishness and irresponsibility of the child.

      "Why do I have to turn off an MP3 player or eBook reader for landing, even one which has no networking abilities whatsoever?"

      Because the law requires you to obey the lawful instructions of the crew of the aircraft. It's not your place, as a passenger, to decide whether the law makes sense to you, or whether you feel you should be subject to it. Argue the toss over a parking ticket, by all means. Complain that you should be allowed to chuck litter in the street if you think you should have the right. Either way, you're safely on the ground, and the police officer or parking warden gets paid however much of a song and dance you put on for them. But when you're in that plane, when you're surrounded by lots of other eggs in that one fragile technological basket, then you do as you're damn well told.

  43. Chris 211

    Why do you turn your toys off for take off and landing.

    Its nothing to do with aircraft interference. The most dangerous part of flying is landing and take off. Paying attention and being alert to the situation and complying to crew instructions is what is needed if it all goes horribly wrong. If you survive a crash the second most likely reason to die is to be unable to undo your lap belt (and so burning or breathing smoke). In a panic people who haven't listened revert to trying to undo it like a car and start searching down the side of the seat.

    So;

    kid - Should have been beaten to knock some sense in the little shit.

    Mandleson - Should have been strangled at birth.

    Old man - Rewarded.

  44. Lawrence Dudley

    Safety during landing

    The turn your devices off on takeoff/approach stuff is actually designed to make you focus on your surroundings, be more aware of what's going on and have a general sense of where abouts the nearest exit is.

    Let's put it this way: If you're wearing headphones, you might not hear the "we're going to crash and we need everyone to evacuate as quickly as possible". It's something that makes perfect sense really if you think about it.

    I hate kids, so I think it's probably fair play that the guy gave him a little slap. Probably deserved it.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Instead of hitting him ...

    I would have spilled some drinks to his iToy "by accident". That ought to do it.

    For Mandelson, I would have made sure the drink is boiling hot.

  46. system11
    Unhappy

    They're punishing the wrong person

    Kid got what he deserved, laws are frequently stupid.

  47. Lars Silver badge
    Flame

    I feel great sympathy

    I feel great sympathy for Russell Miller, It is quite possible that the poor man had to listen to this

    teenager's music during the whole flight. I could kill for less.

    It is quite astonishing how any music becomes unbearable when the source is somebody's earphones.

  48. zen1
    Thumb Up

    defense fund?

    I think we need to start a defense fund for the old dude.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    The arm??

    Endangering lives AND using an Apple product?? The FACE, you punch them in the FACE!!!!!

    1. Arctic fox
      Happy

      @Ian Emery. You are quite right of course.

      However let us be fair and punish according to the gravity of the respective offenses. Two dozen at the mainmast for endangering other passengers lives. For the truly heinous offense however of using an Apple product I fear that there can be no mercy. The yardarm awaits.

  50. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Playing cop

    Far too many people are doing it. Its the job of the crew to enforce the rules, not the passengers.

    What happens when the next passenger over decides to take matters into his own hands over the assault on the teenager? And then a passenger witnesses that act ..... when does it stop?

    If you want your next flight to resemble a barroom brawl in the wild west, leave me out of it.

  51. Urh
    Paris Hilton

    If I were the elderly chap...

    ...I would've channeled Stephen Fry's Duke of Wellington in Blackadder the Third, "Nonsense! THAT would've been a hard hit."

    Paris because everybody wants to hit her (literally, not figuratively).

  52. iMess
    Flame

    @Joshua

    You sir, are an idiot. Who cares if there is a reason or fact, Federal Law states you have follow instructions of the Air Crew. Don't like it? Find another way to travel.

    Its not difficult to understand.

  53. Juan Inamillion
    Flame

    Disproportionate response

    " Police said he faces a jail sentence."

    FFS.

    The snot-nosed little twunt should have been restrained in the seat for disobeying explicit instructions. Never mind whether cell phones or other devices can or cannot affect the plane's systems, the fact is you are REQUIRED to turn them off on take off or landing.

    That is all.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting

    It's interesting to note that many people don't believe that using modern electronic gadgets during critical phases of a flight can cause the loss of control of an aircraft but apparently still comply with this directive because rules are rules.

    It is interesting because many people, probably the same ones, don't believe that driving a modern car at excessive speed can cause the loss of control of a motor vehicle but apparently don't comply with these directives even though laws are laws.

    I call hypocrite on all of you, alternatively next time I see someone speeding I'll punch them out and expect you all to back me up.

    1. Svantevid

      @Chris W

      "next time I see someone speeding I'll punch them out and expect you all to back me up."

      ---

      Errrm... no. To punch them out, you'll have to catch up with them. Meaning you'll have to drive *faster* than them. In which case, they can punch you out, and I'll back them up.

      Regarding the kid... if he decides to stand up against The Man, he can bloody well do it when he's not endangering the lives of other passengers by zoning out during the landing.

    2. Sil_W

      Rules

      You make a valid point, particularly in light of the tendency of Reg commenters to be fiercely anti-authoritarian whenever they think a law is unjust or overbearing. That said, I still believe that rules should be obeyed because we humans tend to live in large, dense groups and it's important that we should have defined codes of behaviour. That way we all know what to expect of each other. I do believe that speed limits are sometimes a little lower than they need to be, but it's still important to obey them because that way every other driver on the road has an easier time predicting what others will do.

      As it is, the only safe prediction to make on Britain's roads these days is that everyone else is an arrogant idiot who's actually out to kill you. And that's hardly healthy.

  55. Milkfloat

    The reason devices are to be turned off

    is because, you are endangering yourself and others in the event of an emergency. if you are listening to music, playing games etc, you are unable to comply with cabin crew instructions.

  56. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    FAIL

    Load of bollocks!

    This kid disobeyed the rules of the airline, therefore he should be prosecuted first! Then take the old boy to court next for losing his temper and decking someone, even if the kid was a first-class arsehole.

    The old-boy who hit him should have had a little more self control, you can't go around lumping everyone who gets on your tits, the hospitals near me would be full if that were the case. However, simply ignoring the fact this kid decided to be an arsehole is wrong. If I decide to do the same thing and ignore the airlines rules, it will only get sorted when someone else attempts to deck me?

    Prison is unlikely for simple "crime" like this, most likely 200 hours of digging weeds in school yards and old folks homes!

  57. Alex Masters
    Alert

    Who - me?

    The issue is people who don't understand why certain rules exist using their own judgement as to whether they should apply to them or not, based on their own selfish needs and wants.

    Mobile phones can interfere with communications and with aircraft navigation systems - it has been proven that mobiles can cause changes to the indicated heading. Needless to say this could be very hazardous.

    The best reason for not using your mp3 player is to ensure that you maintain situational awareness and are ready to react to instructions in an emergency.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bad parenting

    Both the kid and his parents should have been slapped and reprimanded. The entitled generation is very confused. If travelers are not willing to follow the rules, stay home. Nobody should have to deal with A-Holes who have no respect for the rules.

  59. JaitcH
    Stop

    They have the answer in mainland China

    I was on a Chinese carrier recently and there were several instructions in English and Chinese that all 'electronics' should be switched off.

    The Chinese are worst than most at using cell's everywhere.

    The cabin crew simply walked down the aisles starting at the front of economy literally seizing cell phones that were in use from the hands of the offending passengers. They didn't collect too many as other passengers saw what was happening and quickly put their phones away.

    After landing further announcements were made advising all passengers who 'lost their hand phones' should wait in their seats and could pick them up when others had disembarked.

    In China No! means No!

  60. kain preacher

    @prison

    "Are they serious? A jail sentence? Honestly, the US is just a mad country.

    Don't tell me, if he does get a custodial sentence it will only be 25 years -- 'so you can think on what you did to that young dude.'

    Honestly. And they call themselves civilised!

    "

    Explain to me how he could get 25 years when the max he can get is six months in jail and $1000 fine. Who is to say the prosecutor will follow through.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looking at it from an old guy's point of view

    I've flown a lot. I'm a retired pilot. And one of the last things I'd want is having my escape route blocked by some insolent little shit who can't hear the flight crew's instructions and can't move because his phone flew out of his hand during impact, leaving him with a yard of electrical cable around his neck.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    See, its like this ...

    All mobiles adjust their output according to how far they think they are from the nearest cell.

    Normally, in a high signal area the output is around 50-200 milliwatts. If there is a poor signal (or none) they can quite capably pump out up to around 5 watts or RF. That's a potential hazard to avionics (also the reason your mobile goes flat in a subterranean pub with no signal). Its colloquially called "hunting".

    3-5 watts of RF at microwave frequencies is quite a lot of power and can easily generate eddy currents and sparking in metal work nearby. It can also swamp even shielded components with surges of ultra high-frequency currents via wiring through inductance (although most modern planes use fiber-optic cables to send data around).

    These regulations ARE there for a good reason. I'd have punched the little fucker as well except it wouldn't have been his arm I'd have been aiming for.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Ageist creeps

    1. I suppose all of you who are so rude/dismissive of Miller will not reach his age, you are certainly too dim and rude to deserve to; I look forward to reading about your end in the Darwin awards. Perhaps you need to bring your knowledge of people, age and manners up to date. Then again, perhaps you are just 15 yourselves and think that anyone over 30 has got one foot in the grave. That could explain why, as any adolescent, you think your opinion of risk outweighs all else.

    2. A 15 year old is generally too immature to understand many things rationally or logically.

    3. A 15 year old can be a large, heavy creature capable of being physically rather difficult to handle. Some of you seem to imagine all 15 year olds are harmless, small children. American 15 year olds can be gigantic.

    4. A bruise on his arm? Even a firm grasp can leave a mark. I do not condone assault. Why did he not call a steward/stewardess? However, he got cross or thought he could get the silly blighter's attention more quickly and here we are.

    5. Even an American can not believe seriously that prison, nor even a substantial fine, is reasonable for a minor, possibly first time assault. In a normal country, a caution from the police would suffice, if they were even involved. Worst case, a caution from a magistrate. But then we are talking of a country that sentences people to 150 years in prison.

  64. Mahou Saru

    Wow electronic devices so dangerous...

    All those terrorists trying to sneak bombs onto a plane got it all wrong, all they need to do is turn on their phones...

  65. WindyChat_com
    Pirate

    "Maybe I overreacted. What’s done is done,”

    What a god

  66. Thorfkin

    @US Law In Contradiction

    @US Law In Contradiction

    It may appear to be in contradiction but it is actually not. The law states that if you attack someone, you can be charged with assault. The law does not say that you will be prosecuted, only that you can be prosecuted. In cases where an individual's life is in immediate danger, the judge will usually make an exception in regards to prosecution. If someone tries to kill you, and you shoot and kill them in defense, you are still guilty of aggravated assault and manslaughter. You CAN be sent to prison for defending your own life. However the system will usually choose not to prosecute you under the grounds that your life was in immediate danger and that your response was justified. This information is emphasized in most concealed weapons courses. The officer who taught mine was very specific on this matter. If you choose to defend your own life, you have to be absolutely sure you have no other choice in the matter. And that's really the issue here as far as the law is concerned. Can you walk away? Well if a lunatic is chasing after you with an axe then. . .

    Look at the old man's situation. Did he really have to strike the kid to get him to shut off his phone? Was his life in immediate danger? He could probably argue before the judge that he was convinced it was but the judge probably won't accept that as justification. He chose to commit assault and it is unlikely that the judge will consider his actions to be justified. Couldn't the old man have simply pointed the kid out to a flight attendant?

    When that would-be terrorist was trying to light his shoe on fire the matter was different. It was obvious to the surrounding passengers that something untoward was afoot (Sorry for the bad pun BTW). The terrorist's actions put their lives in immediate danger and being stuck in a plane there was no possibility of escape. Their actions were justified. The old man's weren't.

    Not that I like the situation. I personally think the kid deserved a good walloping and if it were my choice I'd let the gent who hit him walk free. I do hope the airline decides to prosecute the kid's parents for his violation of federal law. Maybe just enough to get the parents to properly discipline their child.

  67. T J
    WTF?

    People are snitches

    Why on EARTH did the other passengers dob him in?? What is the world coming too when an idiot teen, ENDANGERING A PLANE, can't get a thick ear???

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why hit the boy...

    ... when it would have hurt him so much more to grab his "U-Suck" and fling it down the isle.

    Now the brat is probably awarded repairs and the honest but impulsive citizen goes in.

    Dumb, dumb...

  69. Azrael
    Unhappy

    You guys really don't see the problem with hitting other people?

    Wait, what?

    OK, I'm all for being respectful to the flight crew, and obeying instructions. But so many people are congratulating the guy that threw a punch? Mr Miller became angry - how did he respond? Did he ask the kid to stop? Did he point out that the flight attendants had told him not to? Did he call a flight attendant, and point out the kid was still using the phone? All valid options. Or did he swing his fists.

    The fact that the guy is old, and was hitting a presumably-stronger-than-him teenager has nothing to do with it. The fact that the teenager was disobeying instructions has nothing to do with it. If I'm travelling on an airplane, I do NOT have the right to punch another traveller, even if I feel justifiably angry. Even if they aren't obeying the instructions. If the kid needs a punch, there should be an air marshal on the plane that the flight attendants can call over.

  70. Anteaus
    FAIL

    Law supporting crime, as usual..

    "Listen-up guys, you know that dare the gang leader gave me, to refuse to turn off my iPod when the plane landed, well, I not only did it, and got away with it, but I a guy who tried to stop me got put IN JAIL! And, it's all over the papers! HAHAHAHAHAH!!!

    With that one, I'm now the gang leader's second. OH yeah Baby, I IS DA MAN!!!

    Grab your spraycans guys, It's time for a spot of territory-marking. Meanwhile, Stinker and Pusface, you two go to the off-licence and steal tonight's booze"

  71. Swiss
    Grenade

    WHY?..

    .. is it the rule breakers always get away with it and the citizen trying to enforce the rules gets the punishment!

    Apparently in the UK it is illegal to beat the crap out of anyone breaking into your house to steal your hard earned property or worse, if you do you get sent to jail and the crim gets a hefty compensation pay out.

    OK the circumstances here are a little different, but he broke the rules, the pensioner "may" have over reacted but was provoked. Give him a medal, don't punish him.

    If the steward had done thier job properly or the parent(s) had done theirs, there wouldn't have been an issue.

    Me, I would have slammed the little shits head into the seat in front of him until his ears bled, but then sometimes I tend to over react too.

    Too all you others that have posted well reasoned and well made points about spoilt kids, shouldn't do this that and the other, well done, try sitting next to one on an eight hour flight ;-)

    1. Sil_W
      Stop

      Accountability

      "...the citizen trying to enforce the rules gets the punishment!"

      Because while we have a citizen-based police force, the unsworn citizen is unaccountable and therefore has limited authority to "enforce the rules". If s/he chooses to try, especially through violence, then s/he must be prepared to go to court and justify the action. The court will decide whether the 'enforcement' was warranted and proportional.

      "Apparently in the UK it is illegal to beat the crap out of anyone breaking into your house to steal your hard earned property or worse"

      Taken literally, this is true - but only because you've used the term "beat the crap out of".

      Otherwise, the notion that it's somehow illegal to defend yourself in Britain is absolute Daily Mail fearmongering nonsense designed to make people feel besieged even in their homes. No-one ever seems to bother questioning where this daft idea comes from, they just yammer it around the place with the authority of a pub lawyer.

      If you find someone breaking into your house in the UK you are permitted by law to take whatever action is necessary to prevent harm to yourself; you are also entitled to take action to defend your property. You may choose to effect an arrest. However - this is the caveat - any use of force by you against an intruder will, again, have to be justified before a court. As long as your response was proportional - which is to say you used sufficient force to defend yourself, prevent the offence or detain the offender and *no more* - then you're very likely to walk free. The expectation of proportionality is not unreasonable in a supposedly civilised country.

      Bear in mind as well that changes in emphasis in recent years mean that courts are obliged to recognise a homeowner's state of mind when confronted by an offender, meaning that if the homeowner reacts out of fear, then excessive force may be overlooked - but don't rely on this as an excuse to "beat the crap" out of someone and expect to get away with it.

      (By the way, you're not *advised* to try to detain the offender - but this is more for your safety than because of his 'human rights', or somesuch. Technically if you take action to detain the offender you've gone beyond self-defence by definition, so there are potential legal issues here, and you're more likely to be pulled up on a technicality. You'd also likely lose any 'state of mind' justification, because if you're trying to arrest the burglar you're clearly not that scared of him.)

      "if you do you get sent to jail and the crim gets a hefty compensation pay out."

      Not normally. If you use disproportionate force to deter or apprehend an offender then yes, of course you may get sent to jail - but don't we demand the police be held to the same standards? Aren't we quick to bellow about police brutality if it's considered they use more force than was strictly necessary? How many anti-police rants have there been on El Reg on this very subject? The same law governs us all, doesn't it?

      As for compensation, unless it's ordered otherwise a burglar has as much right as anyone else to try to sue if he thinks it'll get anywhere - but I'm struggling to find any cases in Britain where such a claim has succeeded. Yet you give the impression it happens a lot. Can you cite such a case?

  72. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Amazes me...

    The government (here and in the USA) claim they need to spy on people, lock them up without trial, stop them opening bank accounts, paying money from one account to the other, spy on their internet, search them randomly in the street and arrest them to 'keep people safe from a terrorist attack' which 'might' hurt a few people....

    A pensioner taps (maybe a little forcefully) and ignorant teenage idiot who ignores safety advice that 'might' (and actually I don't believe it would - but thats not the point) cause a plane to get the landing wrong and kill a few hundred passengers and he is arrested and charged, probably jailed for assault and battery (as if he had wandered down the street and chucked a punch at the first person that took his fancy)....

    Doesn't anyone see how damned stupid this is?

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Self Defence..

    We really need some clear guidance to people in the UK, so we know what to do in an event of a crime, where we are allowed to arrest someone (i.e. what is considered an arrestable offence?).

    Personally if someone broke into my home, or was endangering me or my family on purpose, I would use any means necessary to stop them, erring on the side of caution!

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