Alaska Airlines Flight Attendants Know What Flight Mode Is
Devices with cellular, WiFi, and/or bluetooth radios can only be used on a commercial airline flight–in the US anyway–if the device can be switched into what is referred to as Flight Mode. This mode essentially disables all radios on the device so that it can be used “safely” on an airplane, but other functions on the device can still be used. Many Nokia phones have an Offline profile that accomplishes much the same thing.
On my last trip to the Bay Area, I noticed that Alaska’s “safety announcement” made specific mention of “Flight Mode” on various electronic devices. While I don’t remember what they exactly said, it was something along the lines of “you can use your iPods, Blackberries or similar devices once we reach 10,000 feet so long as they are in Flight Mode or the radios are disabled.” First time I’ve ever heard it mentioned there before.
Alsaka seemed to know the difference a while ago. Then again, many of their customers are techies flying between the Bay Area and Seattle. Whether Alaska figured this out on their own or their customers educated them already, I have no idea (sorry, Andy, Alaska’s flight attendants don’t need your Flight Attendant Gadget School). Either way, I have not once been bothered by flight attendants on an Alaska flight about my gadgets. I do get the occasional question of “is it in flight mode,” but beyond that, they leave me alone.
Putting it in the safety announcement makes their knowledge of flight mode official. Maybe some other airlines could learn a thing or two about flight mode.