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An airplane announcement I’ve been waiting for

I blogged a few months back about how ridiculous the rules are regarding the use of electronic equipment on airplanes. I often leave my iPod on, and sometimes (gasp!) my laptop, which I leave secretly running inside my briefcase. I am happy to report no problems so far.

A flight attendant did something on my flight a few days ago that I have beeen waiting to hear for a long time. After the initial announcement that everyone had to turn off their electronic devices, she let a few minutes pass. Then she got back on the microphone and said, “According to the reading on my equipment up front, there is still one cell phone turned on, so please check that you have turned yours off.”

Obviously, she has no equipment for detecting this, but you should have seen the passengers scramble to check their bags. Except for me, of course. My laptop hummed happily along under the seat in front of me. Still, brilliant on the part of the flight attendant, although I think it would have been more convincing coming from the pilot.

The Economist, meanwhile, picked up on a theme mentioned in my past blog post regarding the nonsense in the ritual airline safety message about “in the unlikely event of a water landing…” Here is the Economist’s version of the in flight announcement we really want to hear (although you may need to be a subscriber to follow the link).

And, finally, let’s hope you don’t have to sit next to me on your next flight. Not only do I put you at risk because I don’t turn off my iPod and thus interfere with airline communications, but TSA just confiscated my deodorant and my toothpaste. Of course they let me keep my contact lens solution. Hmmm…if I were a terrorist, don’t you think that I could figure out how to take the top off a bottle of contact lens solution and put my explosive liquids in there? It is totally pointless to enforce rules which impose costs on innocent people, but are easily circumvented by terrorists. Can anyone think this is accomplishing anything productive?