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Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by USAF_Pride, May 11, 2012.
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Sounds like somebody overreacted a bit...
Btw - your link is invalid
From the article:
You would think Gogo would have had this blocked somehow. I don't this is customers fault, I have considered trying it!
I sat next to someone doing a audio and video conference once I can sympathize with the rule though, it can be disruptive, so this strikes me as an overreaction by the crew. If he ended the call right away when asked that should have been that, case closed. (And no, there's no way to reliably block this sort of thing technically so it's going to come down to a people level management issue)
I like the ending which notes 24% of people don't bother to turn off their cell phones. Since nothing bad has happened as a result of that massive number of active devices during flights it seems that's maybe not a terribly useful rule. More theatre.
Funny, though, that it wasn't a random guy using Skype. Surely someone who is the CEO of a VOIP company is (or should be) familiar with the rules of using their product on airplanes. Seems to me this was a good opportunity for him to get his and his company's name in front of a lot of people.
Although the technical considerations are a little complex, it appears to me that the airline still doesn't understand them even after the incident.
The person in the article was not making a cell phone call. He apparently had his cell phone radio turned off. He was just using the internet.
If the airline wants to make a "no talking" rule on its planes I suppose it's free to do that. They should make it clear, however, what the rule is and why they're stopping the passenger from having his or her conversation. In this case the flight attendant falsely (or most likely, ignorantly, not understanding the difference by cell phone and VOIP communication) claimed that the user was violating an FAA safety rule and apparently he simply tried to explain that that wasn't true. The airline persists in claiming the passenger was having a "cell phone conversation" when that wasn't true.
Whether or not the VOIP session was in violation of GoGo's rules is irrelevant — the airline has no role in enforcing those rules. If I recall, GoGo has a violation against streaming sessions which would probably include VOIP, presumably this is to protect bandwidth (one streaming video could easily take a substantial percentage of the bandwidth available for the entire plane).
I can see one reason why the FAA might choose to ban VOIP — because it's very difficult to a VOIP call apart from an actual cell phone call. But they haven't made that rule and if Delta wants to enforce their own rule they should publish it and honestly inform any passenger in violation of what the rule is.
No, he was making a "free phone call" -- that's at least how Viber describes their app in the product title in the AppStore. ;-)
And yes, I fully understand the difference between VoIP and cellular voice service. By the way, not that it would work at 30k ft, but you could also make the valid claim that you're using the Internet and VoIP service when your device is connected to a cellular network.
The guy should have just stopped arguing. Did he really think he was going to be able to explain this to an FA who has a hundred other passengers who want drinks or food or whatnot?
I wonder if his companies product is designed to evade/circumvent such blocking, since as I understand Gogo does block voip. If so, he definitely knew he was gaming the system.
This is true, he isn't the average consumer if he is involved in developing the software!
You could, but you couldn't also claim that you were not making a cell phone call, which is what allegedly got him in trouble.
Sure I could. I am definitely not making a cellphone call when I am using Skype on my iPhone over 3G. My definition of cellphone call is to use the voice feature of the cellular network. If I send bytes over the data channel, I am not calling. Unless I am using Viber, of course... Because then I am apparently making "free calls"
But let's not split hairs... It's not going to work at 30ft andi generally agree with the gist of your long post above.
Funny that the same cause was attributed to the crash of the Sukhoi 100 Superjet in my home country...
Wel, the cellphone that is, not VoIP
Bit early to speculate about the cause for that crash, no?
The speculation came from one of the National newspapers, yes a bold speculation indeed. They seem to be very sure of it though.
As long as the causes are unknown, I can't make any speculations, but some people amazes me by doing so. And on National newspaper no less..
Since there's no way to block this kind of traffic reliably it comes down to a human interaction problem though. Anyone using a VPN would avoid any such blocks and so on.
They say they don't want it so it doesn't annoy other passengers.
Didn't that airlnes install phones in the F seats about 15 years ago? I don't rememer the name of the phones any longer, but I've used them for emergency calls at a charge of about $3/min.
Gogo seems to block known VoIP providers, which is very different than blocking VoIP. My T-Mobile Blackberry automatically switches voice calls to WiFi if you're in a hotspot, even if cell service is available, to save money and minutes. It's automatic and you just use your phone as usual. I've used that feature in flight over Gogo (short call, just to see if it worked, and it does). There doesn't seem to be any way for Gogo to know what you're using the service for.
OTOH, they can block skype and similar known VoIP providers with a simple blacklist, which is what I suspect they do.
I have never even once seen anyone use those (while they were still operating).
The typical way that I used one was "Hi, this is Seacarl. My flight is late, so I will be late to dinner, but I'm still coming. Let's move it to 8pm."
And if I wanted to circumvent that, I'd just enable VPN on my device and GoGo would just see an encrypted stream of bits going to my corporate or other VPN server. Then they could perhaps look at the traffic pattern and figure out that it looks like voice traffic (vs. say email download), but not sure how reliable that would be, and they'd certainly annoy a lot of corporate customers if they misclassified VPN traffic and cut connections etc.
I used one once. I was arriving late on a domestic flight sometime in the late 90s, so I called ahead to let people know I'd be late. 10 second call, paid for by the company.
I used 'em several times. I seem to think it was $3 "setup fee" plus $3/minute, so 10 second call was $6 plus tax
Still it's weird (and hypocritical) to hear airlines that installed Airfones (and got paid) to now say that VOIP calls are prohibited because they annoy other passengers.
I guess there's a qualitative difference between a very few people making very short and very expensive calls and the masses jabbering on their cellphones for two hours. I've seen it on Amtrak and it ain't pretty ("OK, I'll meet you at 8 at the bar, yes, no, I'm going home first, got the early train, let's see who I catch my wife with this time, uh huh, no you're funny" - for real, from Washington all the way to Philly).
In this case though, it looks like the flight attendant might have actually thought that he was violating FAA policy by "using his cell to make a call" because she doesn't understand VoIP.
I would certainly not have a problem if someone made a very short VOIP call along the lines of what Seacarl did with the Airfones. But that's not what most people would do with Skype etc.