Customers used to sneak a look at their phones during taxi, takeoff and landing. They tried to be as surreptitious about it as possible, to avoid being scolded by flight attendants. Once the ban on small electronics was lifted, and even though those are supposed to be in airplane mode, customers continue to text, browse, and e-mail until they lose their signal in the sky — and re-commence when their aircraft enters final approach.
I don’t remember the last time I saw a flight attendant say something, or ask a customer whether their typing was to queue a message for later or if they were actually connected despite being told to use airplane mode.
Sometimes I see people say something to other passengers that they see breaking these rules. And I’ve even heard passengers complain to flight attendants that their fellow travelers weren’t in airplane mode. Flight attendants generally just ignore it.
But in Singapore on Friday things escalated out of control when one passenger noticed another one using their phone as their Jetstar flight 3K161 to Darwin, Australia left the gate.
- Passengers were told to switch off their phones.
- But a 55 year old man noticed that his 47 year old Aussie seat opponent was still using a phone and told him to turn it off.
- The man and his wife and the 47 year old Australian got into an argument. Crew got involved and warned them they’d all be ejected if they didn’t stop but the fight “escalated.”
- A fourth passenger “thought she heard one of the men say the word ‘bomb’ (no one else claims to have heard this and there was no bomb).
Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2
The plane returned to the gate. The flight was delayed about 8 hours overnight. The airline gave out meal vouchers (hopefully this time enough to buy a bowl of soup) and “families with young children were given lounge access for greater comfort.”
Food in Singapore Changi Terminal 1
(HT: René S.)