back to article China decrees in-flight cellphone calls are safe

Following two years of study, China has decided that in-flight calls are safe, but anyone hoping to make a call, or access the internet, on a Chinese flight will still be disappointed. The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT, not to be confused with MIT) has spent two years studying the affects of in- …


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  1. Captain Hogwash

    "...studying the affects of in-flight wireless..."


    1. TheRealRoland

      Instant gratification!

      No missspelled words found! W00t!

  2. Asiren

    Thank you!

    Now I can tell that stupid stewardess to STFU when she insists that "all mobile phones *must* be switched off *throughout* the flight, *even* if they have Flight-Mode."

    Stupid cnut.

    Wasn't the original reason for no mobiles on planes because when 400 mobiles simultaneously try to log into a cell tower, with a weak signal, travelling at speed, there tends to be a trail of knocked-out towers under the flightpath of a 747?

    1. Ian 62


      All those seats with credit card munching skyphones... The need paid for somehow.

      "Mobiles are banned!"

      "All our aircraft are equiped with telephones, simply provide your credit card"

      If a hotel could find a way to do it when you check in, I'd bet they would.

    2. Matt D
      Thumb Down

      I suspect if you did tell the "stewardess" (and presumably you're only standing up to female cabin crew here) to STFU, then you'd find yourself in the arms of law enforcement when you touched down.

      Notwithstanding your fellow passengers comfort in *not* hearing you yabber on throughout the flight, you are obliged to act upon all requests from the cabin crew whether you like them or not.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      And @Asiren, it was passengers just like you...

      ...who convinced me to retire after 25 years as a Chief Purser.

      Sure don't miss bung-holes like you one bit!

      1. peter 45


        Last time I flew, I was settling into my seat when I heard the tannoy remind us to switch off all mobile phones. I got my mobile phone out and was switching it off when a steward came storming down the plan shouting (yes I do mean shouting) that I should not be using my mobile phone and to PUT IT AWAY. My protest that I was doing exactly the tannoy had instructed was met by steam coming out of his ears and a threat to report me to the captain for refusing to put away my phone.

        Passengers are not the only Bungholes (usually those who think passengers are bungholes)

    4. TheRealRoland

      So many things to say...

      So little time.

      It's fellow-travelers like you that sure make flying fun -- "I don't care about rules and regulations - China is allowing cell phones on planes now!"

      Let's just hope for your sake that the Chinese FCC equivalent made good on their word having tested everything before they ship out electrical equipment...

      "My phone switched on by accident, you cnut ^H^H^H^H officer!"

      Unless the regulations change, you're still not allowed. Deal with it. And I _will_ rat you out if you're sitting close to me and I spot you using a phone.

      1. Darryl

        Planes are too noisy already without having to listen to the schmuck beside you yelling into his phone at his business partner/secretary/wife/mistress/golf buddy to speak up because he can't hear him/her/it over the noise of the plane.

    5. Alex C


      You're quite right about the reason for not having your phone switched on. Planes used to leave little trails of broken cells. The reason is also that as the planes were high up the phones on them were weakly interacting with quite a lot of towers (well several at a time) frantically bouncing around trying to find the strongest signal (which was changing so fast they could never quite keep up).

      Flight mode is fine, though I'd always suggest being polite to anyone trying to keep civilised several hundred fractious people who have just been through airport security and now have mewling brats to contend with. It's the only humane thing to do. They have to deal in generalisations and if the airline has just got into trouble because a lot of people lied about having put their phones onto flight mode, it's reasonable that they'd want them all turned off.

  3. Shane8

    Difference ?

    "We did an investigation, and as far as most travellers are concerned, connecting to the internet on a flight definitely isn’t travellers’ first choice; what’s more important to them is passing the time on their flight via exciting activities."

    So you would rather be restricted in what to view/do on your laptop compared with doing anything ?

    imo i would rather play online games or chat with VOIP clients than play a movie on my laptop that i've seen thousands of times.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      exciting activities

      Drinking and sleeping aren't *that* exciting, but I'd certainly prefer them to trying to use a laptop in cattle class, especially when the elbows of the adjacent self-loading cargo are waving around as well.

  4. slygent

    It's all Chinese to me

    Close: it's 我在飞机上 (or 我在飛機上 in the prettier traditional characters)

  5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    But if you can't trust the professional cabin crew

    Can you trust the flight crew, the maintenance crew, the cargo loaders, the fuel truck drivers?

    If the cabin crew think that a phone in flight mode can crash the plane - perhaps the pilots believe that waving their arms around and making jet noises keeps it flying, perhaps maintenance think that engines should leak oil and tanker drivers think lbs and kg are the same thing.

    1. SkippyBing

      perhaps maintenance think that engines should leak oil

      To be fair, if it's not leaking oil it's probably run out.

    2. Darryl

      If they're British made engines, I think the design specs call for them to leak oil, don't they?


      1. bazza Silver badge



    3. BristolBachelor Gold badge
      Paris Hilton

      I did give you an up-vote, but let's be honest here:

      Pilots are known for flying planes, and maybe having a thing with the ladies.

      Cabin crew are generally known for doing anything with anyone in the toilets (not sure that's true), and being a bit, well how to put this kindly? See the picture...

      Oh and bagage handlers are known for having arms longer than a gorilla and running competitions for how far they can throw a bag or how many bits they can smash it into.

  6. alwarming
    Thumb Up

    Instead of "exciting activities"... about some relaxing activities ? Like a massage and a happy ending ?

    (thumb icon in lieu of the palm).

  7. NomNomNom

    you are all forgetting the main reason for banning mobile phones on flights and that is having a mobile phone on a flight provides contact with the outside world. A traitor could give away the planes position to terrorist planes.

  8. bazza Silver badge

    Am not convinced...

    If a single Lightsquared base station can interfere with GPS receivers over a wide area, why wouldn't 400+ mobile phones flying in close formation interfere with the GPS on top of the plane?

    I'm not convinced that they've got a way of discovering whether a plane crashed because of interference or straightforward equipment failure. Are we about to see a string of inexplicable plane crashes? They will happen, but if they're rare will anyone bother to find out why? I suspect not.

  9. Glenn Charles

    I've used them many times on a flight and I'm a complete idiot.

    See? No change.

  10. Michael Dunn


    Love the subheading: the second character in the Chinese word for 'plane is actually 'ship', with the implication that it is made of wood. ('mu' radical!)

  11. UMTS =(


    I'm not a fan of mobiles on planes, purely because anyone that would use one in that situation would most likely be an ignorant loud mouth. Having said that, no it would not effect local base stations and no it would not effect GPS..... UAE already have and allow use of Satellite back-hauled BTS's on their planes... Oh and if you use one in a petrol station you won't blow it up either (unless you drop it and the battery falls off causing a spark... So probably best to play safe eh!)

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