That iPhone ad

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on November 21, 2007

If you've been wondering, based on that iPhone ad about the pilot using his Apple device to check out to get the plane off the ground, why all the airlines aren't issuing iPhones to their pilots -- here's why.

Alas, not everyone is wisely skeptical, and the first time I saw the ad, I flicked off the set and offered up a silent prayer for pilots and flight attendants the world over. Thanks to this half-minute charade, they must now contend with legions of smart-aleck iSleuths gullible enough to believe what they're told by a commercial.

Apparently, it's already happening. On one of the frequent-flier blogs, an airline pilot writes that only moments after informing his passengers of a weather-related ground hold affecting their flight to Memphis, Tenn., he and his captain received a call from one of the flight attendants. Seems an iPhone-wielding customer in the back had a challenge. "Some guy with an iPhone says the weather is good," the flight attendant says, "and wants to know what the real reason is for the delay. Is something wrong with the plane?"

I like that, "real reason." The implication, as always, is that the carrier is lying or otherwise withholding some critical information. There must be some dangerous malfunction they're not telling us about. After all, "the weather is good," so obviously there's no reason we can't depart immediately.

Reportedly, the captain responded with a public address announcement that was sharp enough to elicit audible laughter from the cabin.

"If the passenger with the iPhone would be kind enough," he began, "to use it to check the weather at our alternate airport, then calculate our revised fuel burn due to being rerouted, then call our dispatcher to arrange our amended release, then make a call to the nearest traffic control center to arrange a new slot time (among all the other aircraft carrying passengers with iPhones), we'll then be more than happy to depart. Please ring your call button to advise the flight attendant and your fellow passengers when you deem it ready and responsible for this multimillion-dollar aircraft and its 84 passengers to safely leave."

iSleuths or iSnobs -- smugness becomes no one.

0 comments on “That iPhone ad”

  1. Great response. Anyone who remotely knew anything about flying would've known better than to just check the weather.

    The only time I've had words with an airline pilot was when he couldn't quite get into SeaTac, went missed approach, then told all the passengers "We could almost see the airfield, but we weren't quite sure if it was going to be clear enough to proceed." I told 'em to just flat out tell the passengers next time that "It was not safe to proceed to attempt a landing once we hit our approach minima and did not have the airfield environment in sight." Don't make the passengers think you're "Not quite sure" about anything.

    In IFR flying, it's not always black and white, but in aviation in general, once you've made a decision, you've got to stick with it. When you're going 500 mph, you don't have time to be indecisive.


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