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MacRumors
Aug 19, 2011, 02:39 PM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/08/19/british-airways-flight-attendants-using-ipads-to-improve-customer-service/)


Earlier this week, it was reported that Delta Air Lines was testing iPads to improve real-time communications (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/08/16/delta-testing-ipads-for-real-time-communications-with-pilots/) with flight crews. Now, British Airways is giving iPads to cabin crews (http://press.ba.com/?p=1881) to improve customer service in the air.

http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2011/08/baplane.jpg

The iPad lets crew quickly identify where each customer is seated, who they are travelling with, their Executive Club status and any special meal requests. It gives cabin crew a whole library of information at their fingertips including timetables, safety manuals and customer service updates. It also means any issues can be logged with ground-based colleagues around the network prior to departure so solutions can be delivered while the flight is airborne.

When all the passengers have boarded and just before the doors are shut, cabin crew are currently handed a long scroll of paper, listing up to 337 customers. With the new iPads cabin crew will simply refresh their screen when the doors have closed through wireless 3G networks and they will have a complete list of passengers on board.BA is testing the iPad with 100 cabin crew and aims to roll out the program to all senior crew members in the next few months.

(Photo by Flickr/BriYYZ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bribri/1299325208/))

Article Link: British Airways Flight Attendants Using iPads to Improve Customer Service (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/08/19/british-airways-flight-attendants-using-ipads-to-improve-customer-service/)



ade2bee
Aug 19, 2011, 03:09 PM
Love the idea of the iPad being used like this, it can be used for loads of stuff... British Airways need all the help they can get after the 4 dreadful flights i had from them, the one from Hong Kong being the icing on the cake!

Do they have an app for giving people the ability to have good customer service, common sense, keeping the aircraft interior tidy and giving a damn though!

rickdollar
Aug 19, 2011, 03:12 PM
Why not use the TouchPad? It has a dual-core processor and can view Flash based websites. That gives you the FULL Internet! Not like that iPad toy thingy.

Kidding aside, this sounds like a great use of the iPad.

Xenc
Aug 19, 2011, 03:24 PM
Awesome! I've seen the "scroll of passenger names" and its not pretty. It's printed on paper with perforated edges in a fixed width font. Very old school.

nutjob
Aug 19, 2011, 03:29 PM
If only they invested this money in better food, which is truly awful on BA, even relative to all other airlines. An iPad won't make the attendants any less disagreeable either. I avoid BA like the plague.

xionxiox
Aug 19, 2011, 03:31 PM
Why not use the TouchPad? It has a dual-core processor and can view Flash based websites. That gives you the FULL Internet! Not like that iPad toy thingy.

Kidding aside, this sounds like a great use of the iPad.

Why not? HP is probably putting them all in the garbage by now anyway. They'd get them for free :)

jonnysods
Aug 19, 2011, 03:47 PM
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Just teach them how to smile.

blyan
Aug 19, 2011, 03:49 PM
If only they invested this money in better food, which is truly awful on BA, even relative to all other airlines. An iPad won't make the attendants any less disagreeable either. I avoid BA like the plague.

I disagree. The food in first class (and the service) is great ;)

EnergonCube
Aug 19, 2011, 04:40 PM
Pfffbt! Old news. EasyJet has been using refurbished Newtons for years.

Luap
Aug 19, 2011, 04:45 PM
A business is using a small portable computer!? Wow! Epic news MacRumors!

winston1236
Aug 19, 2011, 04:52 PM
Why not? HP is probably putting them all in the garbage by now anyway. They'd get them for free :)

yea im going to check behind the best buy for employees offloading them from the truck directly into the dumpster

andreiru
Aug 19, 2011, 04:53 PM
And we are being asked to switch off all our devices, while the crew will have their iPads to play with? My friend's dad is an airline pilot and he says mobile phones don't interfere with pilot's communication system, but they ask passengers to turn these off to simply not disturb other passengers..?

eastercat
Aug 19, 2011, 05:00 PM
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I had a great vegan meal of curry from BA from London to Dallas. OTOH, AA's vegan meal was a sad veggie meatloaf.

I hope the iPad works out for BA's attendants.

hundleton1
Aug 19, 2011, 05:43 PM
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How foe this work? I thought all sw had to go through the app store, how does an enterprise make software for there own use only without JB.

myjellyass
Aug 19, 2011, 05:54 PM
If only they invested this money in better food, which is truly awful on BA, even relative to all other airlines. An iPad won't make the attendants any less disagreeable either. I avoid BA like the plague.

Contrary to what many people think, companies don't do this sort of thing to look cool; it does save them money - in the long term at least. I think we all know that printing something out and handing it to somebody takes considerably more time and effort than having an automated system do it for you, and automatic transfer is (usually) more reliable than the more outdated systems.

So don't panic, the money that goes into this will no doubt be returned in the form of an extra olive on your plate. (see point 5 in the link)

http://bit.ly/oOHZkK

vvswarup
Aug 19, 2011, 06:20 PM
Hopefully, this will go a long way towards making people shut the ******* up about the iPad being nothing more than a useless toy.

AdrianK
Aug 19, 2011, 06:37 PM
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I had a great vegan meal of curry from BA from London to Dallas. OTOH, AA's vegan meal was a sad veggie meatloaf.

I hope the iPad works out for BA's attendants.
Wow, since when did airlines cater to vegans? That's basically my main issue with long flights >.<

Hopefully, this will go a long way towards making people shut the ******* up about the iPad being nothing more than a useless toy.
This x1000.

nylonsteel
Aug 19, 2011, 07:40 PM
re flight attendants with ipads and mini skirts

flight attendants with ipads are sorta cool - ok
what i want is to bring back the hot flight attendants (female) in mini skirts
like the girls from natioanl airlines circa 1971

"fly me..." - national airlines ad - 1971

The Past
Aug 19, 2011, 08:10 PM
It is not what you know or what information you have access to. It is what you do with it. They should first learn to care.

Porco
Aug 19, 2011, 09:22 PM
There is something strangely amusing to me about knowing that flight attendants will have the capability to play Angry Birds HD when they aren't busy.

bushido
Aug 19, 2011, 10:49 PM
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dont tell my sis about 3g being used on a plane. shed scream her soul out. she nearly punched a business lady once for using her pda on take off

danpass
Aug 19, 2011, 11:20 PM
re flight attendants with ipads and mini skirts

flight attendants with ipads are sorta cool - ok
what i want is to bring back the hot flight attendants (female) in mini skirts
like the girls from natioanl airlines circa 1971

"fly me..." - national airlines ad - 1971

only this one person noted what was genuinely important?


;)

d4rkc4sm
Aug 19, 2011, 11:37 PM
If only they invested this money in better food, which is truly awful on BA, even relative to all other airlines. An iPad won't make the attendants any less disagreeable either. I avoid BA like the plague.

i may be only one but i love airplane food.

kdarling
Aug 19, 2011, 11:42 PM
My first thought was that the iPad is too large for this. A smaller 7" tablet would be easier to carry in one hand or in an apron pocket.

My second thought was that even that's too large and gets in the way. Will they have iPad stands on top of the serving carts? That would work. Or they could use iPads while in the galley, and...

For moving about the cabin, they should have a more subtle wrist computer that reads out info as the attendant passes each passenger row. A quick glance while talking or serving would give personal info and preferences / orders.

nutjob
Aug 20, 2011, 02:08 AM
Contrary to what many people think, companies don't do this sort of thing to look cool; it does save them money - in the long term at least. I think we all know that printing something out and handing it to somebody takes considerably more time and effort than having an automated system do it for you, and automatic transfer is (usually) more reliable than the more outdated systems.

So don't panic, the money that goes into this will no doubt be returned in the form of an extra olive on your plate. (see point 5 in the link)

http://bit.ly/oOHZkK

Not on my plate it won't, I don't fly BA, and I don't fly first class.

MacMan86
Aug 20, 2011, 04:57 AM
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How foe this work? I thought all sw had to go through the app store, how does an enterprise make software for there own use only without JB.

Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/9A5302b)

They use the Enterprise Development Program, no need to jailbreak:

http://developer.apple.com/programs/ios/enterprise/

Xenc
Aug 20, 2011, 07:00 AM
Wow, since when did airlines cater to vegans? That's basically my main issue with long flights >.<

Inform your airline when you book your tickets that you'll require a vegan meal. All of the reputable airlines will accommodate your request.

jzuena
Aug 20, 2011, 07:23 AM
And we are being asked to switch off all our devices, while the crew will have their iPads to play with? My friend's dad is an airline pilot and he says mobile phones don't interfere with pilot's communication system, but they ask passengers to turn these off to simply not disturb other passengers..?

I've personally seen two mobile phones being on deviate a VOR (VHF omnidirectional range) and ILS (instrument landing system). These aren't communications systems, they are navigation systems. I was between 5 and 10 degrees off course because of this. We were two experienced pilots who thought mobile phones didn't have any effect who both made sure our phones were off on the return trip.

Westyfield2
Aug 20, 2011, 08:10 AM
Interesting idea. Not sure they need it though, they usually just have a piece of paper with the names of who's in which seat and memorise it.

I personally find BA's customer service to be absolutely top notch! :) "More champagne sir?" before I've sat down, a choice of how I want the steak cooked, a seat that folds completely flat to turn into a bed that they'll make-up whilst I go to the loo and put the supplied pyjamas on.

sjdigital
Aug 20, 2011, 12:31 PM
i may be only one but i love airplane food.

You are, you are!:D

----------

I personally find BA's customer service to be absolutely top notch! :) "More champagne sir?" before I've sat down, a choice of how I want the steak cooked, a seat that folds completely flat to turn into a bed that they'll make-up whilst I go to the loo and put the supplied pyjamas on.

Indeed, if you're travelling up at the pointy end of the plane I'm sure that's true, but for the rest of us, BA's 'customer service' (and I use the term with some caution) is abysmal. And I can't see them getting iPads to play with will help. Why bother looking after your passengers if you can sit down the back playing games on an iPad?

liavman
Aug 20, 2011, 02:42 PM
Why not use the TouchPad? It has a dual-core processor and can view Flash based websites. That gives you the FULL Internet! Not like that iPad toy thingy.

Kidding aside, this sounds like a great use of the iPad.

given the -2 you got, it looks like people did not get your sarcasm ;) I bumped it to -1 ha.ha..

addicted44
Aug 20, 2011, 04:50 PM
If only they invested this money in better food, which is truly awful on BA, even relative to all other airlines. An iPad won't make the attendants any less disagreeable either. I avoid BA like the plague.

It is almost impossible to make airplane food taste good. Besides the obvious, heating and storing issues, the fact is that airplane food cannot have a strong smell (since its so cramped, it will simply linger in the plane). And since smell is a critical factor in taste, its really hard to make decent tasting airplane food.

mrm3
Aug 20, 2011, 05:03 PM
Interesting idea. Not sure they need it though, they usually just have a piece of paper with the names of who's in which seat and memorise it.

I personally find BA's customer service to be absolutely top notch! :) "More champagne sir?" before I've sat down, a choice of how I want the steak cooked, a seat that folds completely flat to turn into a bed that they'll make-up whilst I go to the loo and put the supplied pyjamas on.

This gives them a lot more information than name and seat.

macnews
Aug 20, 2011, 05:08 PM
So if the flight attendants can use 3G when the door is closed, does this mean the airlines are going to finally acknowledge the use of cell phones will not interfere with the flight of the plane? Perhaps we could all use our cell phones until we loose signal so many feet in the air.

pcmxa
Aug 20, 2011, 05:18 PM
So if the flight attendants can use 3G when the door is closed, does this mean the airlines are going to finally acknowledge the use of cell phones will not interfere with the flight of the plane? Perhaps we could all use our cell phones until we loose signal so many feet in the air.

I doubt it. The primary reason they want you to turn off your cell phones (and all electrical devices) is that they want to pay attention to the crew, not have distractions, during the times of the flight when things are most likely to go wrong: Take-off and landing. It is only a secondary concern that it might interfere with the plane if 130+ cell phones are all communicating at the same time the pilot(s) need to communicate most intensely with ground control and the tower. and thirdly that it might interfere with the electronics that control the aircraft. Planes and their crews and passengers have been lost from mis-hearing a single word and their is at least one plane that they think might have goten taken down from an electrical fault that could have come from an electrical device (I think this was an early 757 over thailand, but it has been forever since I read the report).

nutjob
Aug 20, 2011, 06:35 PM
It is almost impossible to make airplane food taste good. Besides the obvious, heating and storing issues, the fact is that airplane food cannot have a strong smell (since its so cramped, it will simply linger in the plane). And since smell is a critical factor in taste, its really hard to make decent tasting airplane food.

That's a load. None of those arguments make sense, Not that many years ago when I flew the food was perfectly decent, it's gone downhill substatially due to cost cutting. Simple as that.

Food is heated all the time and is fine, that's hardly a problem, don't you have a microwave? Airline food has all sorts of smells, some strong, but it doesn't linger because the air is replaced in a plane several times an hour.

PracticalMac
Aug 20, 2011, 07:01 PM
Hopefully, this will go a long way towards making people shut the ******* up about the iPad being nothing more than a useless toy.

Not.

They will now complain of the airplane insta-splode the moment the iPad battery runs out.

;)


I realized the more controlled nature of iPad's will make the far more attractive to companies then Android based pads that might be easier to change.

----------

I doubt it. The primary reason they want you to turn off your cell phones (and all electrical devices) is that they want to pay attention to the crew, not have distractions, during the times of the flight when things are most likely to go wrong: Take-off and landing. It is only a secondary concern that it might interfere with the plane if 130+ cell phones are all communicating at the same time the pilot(s) need to communicate most intensely with ground control and the tower. and thirdly that it might interfere with the electronics that control the aircraft. Planes and their crews and passengers have been lost from mis-hearing a single word and their is at least one plane that they think might have goten taken down from an electrical fault that could have come from an electrical device (I think this was an early 757 over thailand, but it has been forever since I read the report).

Fact: It was the FCC, not the FAA that instigated these rules on not using cell phones during flight.

Aircraft communication and navigation systems must be able to block or filter out undesirable electro-magnetic interference. Some of the certification tests are roughly analogous to an airplane full of working cell phones.

That said, it is best not to test the limits of aircraft electronics each and every fight.

PS:
*Backup* flight instruments still tend to be "steam gauges", meaning mechanical and electrical that are immune from radio noise.

honem
Aug 21, 2011, 05:40 AM
My first thought was that the iPad is too large for this. A smaller 7" tablet would be easier to carry in one hand or in an apron pocket.

My second thought was that even that's too large and gets in the way. Will they have iPad stands on top of the serving carts? That would work. Or they could use iPads while in the galley, and...

I really don't see an issue here. Most airline uniforms I've seen have an included jacket for colder climates they go into. They would , I imagine hang these up out of the way when not in use. Just store them in the lining of the jackets.

A very simple and cheap alteration could be made to secure the iPad in their uniform jacket so it doesn't fly out of the coat on take off :)

I also don't think they would need to have one per flight attendant. Maybe five per flight.

You have your front and back galleys that would probably need two each so the attendants can quickly update passenger info on both sides of the plane and also having a main plus one reserve. Plus one in the cockpit for the pilots if they need it (if that's at all possible)

Or at the very least one each for front and back galley so they can instantly update each other with things to grab for passengers or about passengers needing special attention (e.g. Mary in Seat 7G need a extra blanket for her 5 month old , front galley near her doesn't have the right ones needed so polls the back galley to bring it down. etc etc)

I don't see them carting them around the aisles for the entire flight - they will be referred to as a business tools then stored away when not in use. During take off and landing flight attendants already go around getting passengers to secure things and I imagine they would secure things themselves - the iPads could just be another one of those things they have to strap to something. There's usually enough free locker space with included straps in airline galleys AFAIK.

For moving about the cabin, they should have a more subtle wrist computer that reads out info as the attendant passes each passenger row. A quick glance while talking or serving would give personal info and preferences / orders.

Which would require more development time while an appropriate device is either fabricated or suitable piece of hardware is sourced & licensed.

BA would have system analysts working for them that probably did look into the development cost of creating their own device and decided to go the easier route of sourcing iPads.

If anything it means they get to type into the advantages developing for the iOS brings. A vibrant development community. Supported by Apple for future system updates. Both of which means less work for overstressed developers working for them. No hardware research costs. If anything goes wrong they can use Apple Care / corporate equivalent for tech support.

Let's be honest here - some of those flight attendants are going to be playing games on those iPads. Make it a job performance related perk ie if your performance goes above a certain level for x months you own the iPad. In a competitive job market an airline needs _every_ advantage it can take.

It has a high turn over of rewards and benefits for a lower investment cost then developing their own hardware is.

Lastly if this Enterprise app of these takes off guess what! Depending on the terms of the Enterprise program they could possibly sell the software solution off to other Airlines. The advantage of doing it first means if their program is successful they could possibly sell it off to other airlines. With good luck this investment of theirs could pay for itself !

vitzr
Aug 21, 2011, 05:45 AM
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just teach them how to smile.

+1

honem
Aug 21, 2011, 05:50 AM
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They use the Enterprise Development Program, no need to jailbreak:

http://developer.apple.com/programs/ios/enterprise/


$299 / Year.

Damn that sounds cheap considering what rates the current market has for charging IT work to corporations.

Distribute your proprietary, in-house iOS apps to employees or members of your organization. You can also securely host and wirelessly distribute or update in-house apps to employees, keeping them current anywhere, anytime.

Ha-cha-cha easy updating to all users of the app.

Request support from Apple engineers for code level issues and technical guidance to fastrack your development process

Nice.

Not sure if the terms of the Enterprise program means they can sell the app they develop.

Would you know if they do ? I made that point on a previous post to this thread but want to check if I'm right.

----------

Just teach them how to smile.

I think the thought of eventually getting a free iPad through working hard and being good at work would be reason to smile :)

Not the least of which because they can play RAGE on their breaks. Hey why not. Being a flight attendant must be stressful particularly with those long flights :D

MacMan86
Aug 21, 2011, 06:16 AM
Not sure if the terms of the Enterprise program means they can sell the app they develop.

Would you know if they do ? I made that point on a previous post to this thread but want to check if I'm right.

No - check the 'Compare iOS developer programs' link at the bottom. No App Store distribution.

However, there's no reason why they couldn't sign up for the iOS Company program ($99 a year) and use that account to distribute the app - not that they wouldn't be selling the exact same app that they had developed anyway.

IMO no way would BA be selling this - every airline's backend systems are no doubt very different and BA don't want to be developing and supporting versions for their competitors. The iPad + app represents a competitive advantage that is likely worth more than the revenue they could get from selling the app.

honem
Aug 21, 2011, 06:31 AM
No - check the 'Compare iOS developer programs' link at the bottom. No App Store distribution.

However, there's no reason why they couldn't sign up for the iOS Company program ($99 a year) and use that account to distribute the app - not that they wouldn't be selling the exact same app that they had developed anyway.

I don't think they would be putting this on the App Store. Software like this isn't really meant for public consumption. I was thinking Airline to Airline private selling.

I also read that feature list differently - that they aren't given the software back end to push their apps to the App Store. Not really needed as they would need to consult with the other airline on how best to implement to their system so an App store dist. method isn't needed here.

What I was meaning is when you join an Apple Developer program , any of their developer programs there is a bit of legal documentation you have to sign. I was wondering what the legal documentation members of the enterprise program have to sign and if that specifically says "no you can not on sell the programs you develop on this program"

IMO no way would BA be selling this - every airline's backend systems are no doubt very different and BA don't want to be developing and supporting versions for their competitors. The iPad + app represents a competitive advantage that is likely worth more than the revenue they could get from selling the app.

Yes but if they code in such a way to be adaptable to other airlines systems .... Then charged extra consultation fees to implement their solution for that other airlines system then run a trial basis .... There is still a fair amount of money to be made for them if they do choose to share it with other airlines.

But I get what you are saying about competitive advantages. This also works the other way for the other airlines - they get to watch BA go first . make all the mistakes and show what challenges come up and how they solved it. This leaves another airline who may want to bring a similar solution to look at that and not make the same mistakes BA does.

kdarling
Aug 21, 2011, 07:32 AM
I don't see them carting them around the aisles for the entire flight - they will be referred to as a business tools then stored away when not in use.

Depends on what the iPads are used for. If they're just a replacement for a printed list of names and food preferences, then my enterprise app experience is that they won't get used as much as executives would think... the old printed list is often more useful because you can tear it into sections and take pencil notes on it, and best of all, it fits in a slim uniform's pocket.

If the iPad could be linked into the Attendant Call button system, that would be cool: display the passenger name without looking it up.

To me, it would make sense to also use them for drink/food orders, by doing what some airlines are doing now: taking orders first, then going back and loading the cart. For that app, having the iPad travel on top of the cart as a reminder as you serve makes sense.

Let's be honest here - some of those flight attendants are going to be playing games on those iPads.

Extremely unlikely that the iPads will be set to allow app store downloads.

Lastly if this Enterprise app of these takes off guess what! Depending on the terms of the Enterprise program they could possibly sell the software solution off to other Airlines.

Again, very unlikely. The point of things like this is to have an advantage over your competitors.

Damn that sounds cheap considering what rates the current market has for charging IT work to corporations.

You get two incident calls a year, which is good if you need such things.

Mostly, the Apple $300 a year Enterprise Developer program buys you a certificate to sign apps so you can distribute them from your own in-house servers to devices you set up with a special provisioning profile.

That certificate expires each year. It's like a Roach Hotel. Once you start, you're on the hook for that $300 a year as long as you want your apps to work.

For Blackberrys, it's a one-time $25 fee for an unlimited certificate. For Android, no fee. Not sure about WP7.

MacMan86
Aug 21, 2011, 08:02 AM
What I was meaning is when you join an Apple Developer program , any of their developer programs there is a bit of legal documentation you have to sign. I was wondering what the legal documentation members of the enterprise program have to sign and if that specifically says "no you can not on sell the programs you develop on this program"

I'm not going to read the entire agreement for the sake of an internet discussion, however it is incredibly unlikely. All source code is copyright of the developer. Apple can have no involvement with how you sell or distribute your own copyrighted work. You submit binaries to Apple, never source code.


Yes but if they code in such a way to be adaptable to other airlines systems .... Then charged extra consultation fees to implement their solution for that other airlines system then run a trial basis .... There is still a fair amount of money to be made for them if they do choose to share it with other airlines.

So unbelievably unlikely IMO. Your first assumption is that BA's apps are developed in-house by full-time developers. That's very rare for a company that doesn't concentrate heavily on mobile technologies (BA have only one app in the App Store). There's every chance they contracted the app out to an external company (it's what the majority of companies do). Should that be the case, there's no margin in BA creating a new version for a competing company - all the money would go to the external contractor.

As an app developer, I can't see any value in the source code of BA's app to competitors. There's no complex algorithm or framework that couldn't be easily created from scratch by another company. If I were a company like American Airlines, I couldn't see why I would give money to (and become dependent upon) a competitor when I could give only slightly more (could even be less) to a contractor and retain complete control (not bound by any T's & C's of BA). The complexity of an iPad app linked to a backend API is surprisingly low.

*LTD*
Aug 21, 2011, 08:53 AM
That's some "toy", aint it?

honem
Aug 21, 2011, 09:57 AM
So unbelievably unlikely IMO. Your first assumption is that BA's apps are developed in-house by full-time developers. That's very rare for a company that doesn't concentrate heavily on mobile technologies (BA have only one app in the App Store). There's every chance they contracted the app out to an external company (it's what the majority of companies do). Should that be the case, there's no margin in BA creating a new version for a competing company - all the money would go to the external contractor.

Okay sounds logical. I was only speculating on that anyway.

I was wrong :D +1's your post

rareflares
Aug 21, 2011, 10:58 AM
Do they have to turn off their electronics during takeoff and landing?

Maybe they'll finally realize how annoying (and completely pointless) that rule is.

pcmxa
Aug 21, 2011, 11:23 AM
Fact: It was the FCC, not the FAA that instigated these rules on not using cell phones during flight.

Aircraft communication and navigation systems must be able to block or filter out undesirable electro-magnetic interference. Some of the certification tests are roughly analogous to an airplane full of working cell phones.

That said, it is best not to test the limits of aircraft electronics each and every fight.

PS:
Flight instruments still tend to be "steam gauges", meaning mechanical and electrical that are immune from radio noise.

You're right. It was the FCC who banned them, but it looks like they banned them because they, the FAA, and the airlines refused to pay to prove them safe. (link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phones_on_aircraft#Electromagnetic_interference)) Looks like no one has ever shown that they have caused interference, but it has been shown that cell phones can produce EM at levels that COULD cause issues. I am no expert in these things anyway, just was passing along what a pilot friend told me about the reasons for the ban and a little bit that I recall from when I worked at the library at the 737 plant.

bushido
Aug 21, 2011, 11:35 AM
lol the crew nearly flipped at me once bc i used my iPhone as an iPod put on "Flight Mode" and they didnt leave my seat until i turned it off and kept checking in on me. needless to say this was the longest 6 hour flight ever

kdarling
Aug 21, 2011, 01:13 PM
The worst and most self-centered idiot on the planet is the one who thinks a rule doesn't apply to them.

There are plenty of empirical reasons to believe that phones interfere with systems. Pilots over the years have reported everything from noise in their headphones (think GSM buzz times dozens of phones) to autopilots kicking off when a first class passenger turned on her phone just before landing (yes, they took it from her).

Just a month or two ago, Boeing was trying to certify an in-plane WiFi system for one of their 737 models, and discovered that the primary cockpit display panels installed in that model would go blank if the WiFi power went too high. That could be deadly. They're having the manufacturer add more shielding.

Aircraft makers simply cannot test all situations for interference. That's why it's better to be safe than sorry, and try to avoid unnecessary interference in the critical flight phases of takeoff and landing.

Amazing Iceman
Aug 21, 2011, 02:56 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

I had a great vegan meal of curry from BA from London to Dallas. OTOH, AA's vegan meal was a sad veggie meatloaf.

I hope the iPad works out for BA's attendants.

heheh!Just wondering how is it possible for a meatloaf to be vegan??? It should be called veggieloaf instead! :D

honem
Aug 21, 2011, 03:06 PM
I just had a thought. I'll run it by you guys and either shoot me down or give it some thought.

What if there is a possibility that the navigation equipment isn't consistent between different models of airplane ? What if there are planes where their navigation equipment is fully shielded against any interference from mobile devices and planes which aren't ? And that airlines use many different models of plane ?

Maybe the policy is in there not because they absolutely know if it will interfere or not. Maybe it's there because they can't guarantee it won't.

And quite frankly if I'm thousands of feet in the air I would prefer to defer to the knowledge of the crew that's responsible for my personal well being and safety while I'm in the air. They may have a lot more experience then me after all :)

MacMan86
Aug 21, 2011, 03:18 PM
...
Maybe the policy is in there not because they absolutely know if it will interfere or not. Maybe it's there because they can't guarantee it won't.


Hasn't it been generally accepted for a long time that that's exactly it?

Much like banning the use of a mobile phone by a petrol pump and many other things.

mrm3
Aug 21, 2011, 04:04 PM
So unbelievably unlikely IMO. Your first assumption is that BA's apps are developed in-house by full-time developers. That's very rare for a company that doesn't concentrate heavily on mobile technologies (BA have only one app in the App Store). There's every chance they contracted the app out to an external company (it's what the majority of companies do). Should that be the case, there's no margin in BA creating a new version for a competing company - all the money would go to the external contractor.


They are developed and distributed in-house. Agree it is probably rare.

Though only one external iPhone app. (Which makes sense anyway).
But also an external app for Android, Blackberry and Windows 7 mobile.

----------

Okay sounds logical. I was only speculating on that anyway.

I was wrong :D +1's your post

So you were right. -1 him. :)

----------


Extremely unlikely that the iPads will be set to allow app store downloads.


They can.

MacMan86
Aug 21, 2011, 04:18 PM
They are developed and distributed in-house. Agree it is probably rare.

Though only one external iPhone app. (Which makes sense anyway).
But also an external app for Android, Blackberry and Windows 7 mobile.


Genuine question: So they have in-house developers for iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows 7 Mobile?

Would you be one of the 100 cabin crew testing this out to know all this?

kdarling
Aug 21, 2011, 05:41 PM
Extremely unlikely that the iPads will be set to allow app store downloads.

They can.

I'm very surprised. I wonder how long that will last once it gets past the trial :)

.

mrm3
Aug 21, 2011, 06:16 PM
Genuine question: So they have in-house developers for iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows 7 Mobile?

Would you be one of the 100 cabin crew testing this out to know all this?

Yes.

oh and no to being crew!

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I'm very surprised. I wonder how long that will last once it gets past the trial :)

.

Many crew have personal smart devices anyway nowadays.

kdarling
Aug 21, 2011, 08:22 PM
Many crew have personal smart devices anyway nowadays.

That's quite different from a company owned device containing proprietary and customer info.

Once BA Legal finds out, I bet that apps will be blocked. Probably email as well:

They'll be horrified at the thought that someone could touch a few spots and email a passenger list outside of the company.

Swift
Aug 22, 2011, 01:19 AM
Hopefully, this will go a long way towards making people shut the ******* up about the iPad being nothing more than a useless toy.

A talking point does not have to be true to be repeated. It just needs to be repeated. If it sounds plausible if you don't think about it, and everybody says it, then everybody's right.

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That's a load. None of those arguments make sense, Not that many years ago when I flew the food was perfectly decent, it's gone downhill substatially due to cost cutting. Simple as that.

Food is heated all the time and is fine, that's hardly a problem, don't you have a microwave? Airline food has all sorts of smells, some strong, but it doesn't linger because the air is replaced in a plane several times an hour.

I'll attest to that. I've had some nice steaks in tourist. It has gone downhill, though.

satcomer
Aug 22, 2011, 06:45 AM
The worst and most self-centered idiot on the planet is the one who thinks a rule doesn't apply to them.

There are plenty of empirical reasons to believe that phones interfere with systems. Pilots over the years have reported everything from noise in their headphones (think GSM buzz times dozens of phones) to autopilots kicking off when a first class passenger turned on her phone just before landing (yes, they took it from her).

Just a month or two ago, Boeing was trying to certify an in-plane WiFi system for one of their 737 models, and discovered that the primary cockpit display panels installed in that model would go blank if the WiFi power went too high. That could be deadly. They're having the manufacturer add more shielding.

Aircraft makers simply cannot test all situations for interference. That's why it's better to be safe than sorry, and try to avoid unnecessary interference in the critical flight phases of takeoff and landing.

So you telling us that Airplane makers are not installing shielded cabling? What about Sun radiation or cosmic rays in the thin atmosphere?

Steve121178
Aug 22, 2011, 07:32 AM
So if the flight attendants can use 3G when the door is closed, does this mean the airlines are going to finally acknowledge the use of cell phones will not interfere with the flight of the plane? Perhaps we could all use our cell phones until we loose signal so many feet in the air.

The last thing I want on a plane is to be sitting next to some idiot who won't stop talking on the phone. Phones use should be banned, period.

Data use is ok though.

kdarling
Aug 22, 2011, 08:05 AM
So you telling us that Airplane makers are not installing shielded cabling? What about Sun radiation or cosmic rays in the thin atmosphere?

Nope, I didn't say any such thing. I said that makers couldn't test for every possible scenario.

Boeing has done a lot of studies of passenger PED interference. (PED = portable electronic device).

One of the things they found was that many PEDs (especially laptops and games) radiated far more than is usually assumed, from 30 - 100 times more. Ditto for power supplies:

"Boeing has tested in-seat power on eight airplanes: two 737s, one 747, two 767s, and three 777s. The number of laptops operating simultaneously in each test ranged from 32 to 245. Included with the laptops were a mixture of compact-disc players and electronic games.

"Boeing found no airplane susceptibility in these eight tests, though some emissions were found to be extremely noisy in the laboratory (up to 40 dB over the airplane equipment emission limit). The noise levels were above the airplane equipment emission levels from 150 kHz to 500 MHz.

"Even though these computers did not cause any airplane system anomalies, Boeing has observed airplane antenna receiver susceptibility from "noisy" systems with levels significantly lower than those recorded by the laptop computers used in the tests."

Boeing also noted that some newer devices operated at higher frequencies than aircraft were tested for.

Their recommendation? To be safe, continue to prohibit intentional (cell, WiFi) transmitters during all stages of flight unless the airplane has been specifically tested. Prohibit unintentional transmitters (laptops, games, etc) during critical flight phases.

I've been working with electronics for over thirty years. Interference is a tricky beast. Since I have a family, I'm with the better-safe-than-sorry crowd :)

mrm3
Aug 22, 2011, 08:36 AM
That's quite different from a company owned device containing proprietary and customer info.

Once BA Legal finds out, I bet that apps will be blocked. Probably email as well:

They'll be horrified at the thought that someone could touch a few spots and email a passenger list outside of the company.


Rest assured it is more secure (an improvement) than the standard existing industry paper format!

dmr727
Aug 22, 2011, 09:16 AM
I'm no EE, but I've spent a little time in the pointy end of an airplane. And in my experience - whether the plane is decades old or brand new - they all tend to exhibit random, non-reproducable bat***t crazy behavior from time to time. In most cases it's a simple matter of removing the layer of automation that's acting up and continuing on. If we have the time, we'll reset it and try again. In most cases the problem disappears. It's like having an app in OS X unexpectedly quit. What do you do? You relaunch it, and typically you don't think about it again unless it keeps happening. Same thing in an airplane. These little gremlins occur more often than people realize.

Is it buggy software? Electrical or wiring related? Or is it because someone is using an iPad in 13B? I personally don't think it's the iPad, but to an organization like the FAA (or equivalent) that's not good enough. You've gotta prove it, and there's enough doubt out there that they seem content to play it safe and keep the rules the way they are. And as kdarling said, I'd rather be safe than sorry. :)

PracticalMac
Aug 22, 2011, 10:24 AM
The worst and most self-centered idiot on the planet is the one who thinks a rule doesn't apply to them.

There are plenty of empirical reasons to believe that phones interfere with systems. Pilots over the years have reported everything from noise in their headphones (think GSM buzz times dozens of phones) to autopilots kicking off when a first class passenger turned on her phone just before landing (yes, they took it from her).

Just a month or two ago, Boeing was trying to certify an in-plane WiFi system for one of their 737 models, and discovered that the primary cockpit display panels installed in that model would go blank if the WiFi power went too high. That could be deadly. They're having the manufacturer add more shielding.

Aircraft makers simply cannot test all situations for interference. That's why it's better to be safe than sorry, and try to avoid unnecessary interference in the critical flight phases of takeoff and landing.


Yes, and why I noted not to test the system every flight (test meaning stress system in operation, not a careful, control test of system).

Given that incident, it's clear the system needs more scrutiny.


As long as the crew iPad is in flight mode, it should not cause any issues.