If anyone can buck the rules, Arianna Huffington can. And does.
The out-spoken founder of the Huffington Post reportedly refused to turn off her mobile device during a weekend Dulles to LaGuardia flight, and, according to an irate passenger, she chatted and texted the entire time.
The Washington Post reported that the angry passenger confronted Huffington and both were pulled aside and questioned when the plane landed, but no one was charged.
The New York Post identified the passenger as Ellis Belodoff (53) who heckled Huffington by asking, “Hey, Lady, don’t you speak English?”
Huffington, of course, is Greek-born, speaks English exceptionally well and was not the least bit ruffled.
She reportedly thought the passenger was irate because he didn’t like the snacks.
Of course the issue raises a much larger point, one we have reported on here before.
There is no good reason why cell phones should be turned off in flight, at least none anyone can prove.
If, as we are told, turned-on cell phones can pose a threat to aviation navigation, why allow them on planes to begin with?
Further, how many of us forget to turn our cell phones off?
No doubt, recent studies have suggested passengers themselves do not want fellow passengers “yaking” on their phones during flight, but most say texting is perfectly fine.
But, U.S federal regulations still do not allow the use of in-flight mobile calls, and cell phones must be turned off.
Further, says, MSNBC, the government has directed service providers like Aircell/gogo and Row 44 to “block voice calls and disable VoIp functions.”
If, as it seems likely, more and more foreign and international carriers are adding more and more connectivity, then only those flying US carriers will be out of reach and increasingly out of touch.
Arianna Huffington may have more “chutzpah” than most people, and certainly more than most passengers, but she raised the level of the in-flight cell phone debate another notch, or three.