Four passengers were kicked off of Saturday’s Delta flight DL4527 from Fort Wayne to Atlanta as a result of a flight attendant and passenger arguing over putting a cell phone into airplane mode.
Since the ban on use of electronic devices during taxi and takeoff was lifted, passengers are still supposed to have devices in airplane mode (non-transmitting) once the doors of the aircraft are closed. However this is almost never enforced at all, and certainly not systematically, on the hundreds of flights I take in the U.S.
Prior to takeoff the SkyWest flight attendant told a passenger (“rudely” in her estimation) to put her phone in airplane mode and then waited by her while she did so.
The passenger took offense to the flight attendant ‘standing over’ her to verify she actually did it. The flight attendant took offense to the passenger taking offense and reportedly said “If you’re gonna act like that we can go back to the gate and you can get off.”
Passenger Robyn Rodgers insists she put the phone in airplane mode and showed this to the flight attendant. Nonetheless the flight attendant spoke to the captain, the aircraft returned to the gate, and the woman was escorted off the aircraft by law enforcement. Other passengers who stood up for Rodgers were ejected as well (“4 adults and a little boy”).
The altercation wound up delaying the flight about three hours. Here’s video of the altercation between passenger and flight attendant, a photo of law enforcement coming on board the aircraft, and video of what happened once off the aircraft.
Despite SkyWest saying they were working with Delta to get in touch with the passenger, the passenger posted that they haven’t heard a word.
(HT: Jessica Puckett)