N9JIG From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 21 posts, RR: 0 Posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 2878 times:
The wife and I took a flight from ORD to PHX on a USAir (AWA) flight in January 2007. It was -3F at ORD when we arrived 2 hours before scheduled departure, but I figured we would be late taking off due to the snow and de-icing going on. It didn't bother us as I was watching everything and listening to it all on the scanner the whole time, and the wife has endless patience when she has knitting to do.
We boarded about 20 mins after the scheduled departure (about 1300 IIRC) and pushed back for deicing. We were one of the lucky ones, as the truck pulled up right away. I had heard some planes waiting over 2 hours for deicing, we were done right away. We took off almost exactly an hour late, but a lot earlier than I thought we would.
Being the geek that I am, I brought my laptop and little GPS receiver. I found a sweet spot were I could put the GPS receiver by the window unobtrusively and watched our departure from ORD after they turned off the seat belt sign. StreetAtlas USA reported a cruise speed of about 525 MPH, give or take a few for the first hour. I noticed the cabin crew had been congregating in the rear of the plane and saw that a passenger had taken ill. A few mins later I heard the Capetian ask for a doctor on the PA. On the scanner I then heard him talking to "Amarillo" on an Arinc channel (I presume) and informed them of the situation and asked advice. The captain advised that he was going to declare a medical emergency and they suggested Kansas City as the best location for the passenger care.
The Captain then got on the radio with the Center and immediatly banked hard and turned due east as we had already passed KC. The speed increased to about 620 MPH during a quick descent. They then informed the pax about the situation and soon we were in KC and EMS was taking care of the sick passenger. After refueling our A320 we took off again and resumed our journey. They did a quick drink and snack service, ran the movie and we landed at PHX about 3 hours late. Before landing the cabin crew check with each row as to find out if they were connecting with other flights and later came back and told them what gates to go to and what time the flights would take off. Since PHX is a hub for the AWA division of USAir most people were able to make connections pretty easily. Since I know sign language I helped a deaf passenger figure out her arrangements, for which the crew was appreciative.
The crew handled the situation well, keeping the rest of the pax informed while retaining the dignity and privacy of the sick passenger. I knew the nature since I heard the captain talking on the scanner, and it was handled very well and discretely. They made sure that everyone got to where they were going and that luggage was transferred to the new flights.
The way the flight and cabin crews handled the situation rubbed off on the pax. Not one groan was heard or complaint made by any of the packed flight's passengers.
Having heard horror stories recently I was prepared for the worst, but even with all the problems thrown at this flight everyone came off the aircraft in a good mood, well except for one lady left at KC...
BTW, the cabin crew on the way back to ORD a week later got a kick out of watching our progress on my laptop. Several times they stopped by to check on our progress, at least until the battery died on the computer.
Logos From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 796 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 2695 times:
Quoting N9JIG (Thread starter): the cabin crew on the way back to ORD a week later got a kick out of watching our progress on my laptop.
This surprises me a little. I guess a GPS would be an acceptable device, but I would have thought that the scanner would have been prohibited as they usually don't want you to operate any sort of receiver.
UAXDXer From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 765 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 2492 times:
Quoting N9JIG (Thread starter): On the scanner I then heard him talking to "Amarillo" on an Arinc channel (I presume) and informed them of the situation and asked advice. The captain advised that he was going to declare a medical emergency and they suggested Kansas City as the best location for the passenger care.
The captian was talking to his dispatcher at AWA HQS via ARINC.
It takes a bug to hit a windsheild but it takes guts to stick
N9JIG From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 21 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 2306 times:
Regarding the Crew, I assume it was an AWA crew, the flight was an AWA flight, on a repainted AWA A-320, and the in-flight video and some of the materials were still showing AWA.
Regarding the scanner, I asked permission of the FA in Coach before we left the gate and she said that it was fine after take-off as long as I used earphones. That is the usual response when I ask on-board, only once was I told no, on a AWA flight a couple years ago to LAS. Usually they have no problem with receivers, but transmitters are strictly prohibited, I don't even bother asking or trying to use them.
Regarding the GPS, AFAIK there are no prohibitions. I don't recall if it was the AWA/US or SW in-flight mag that even listed a GPS as allowable after take-off, but one of them did. Neither had it listed as a prohibited.
Regarding the passenger, let us just remember that alcohol worsens many pre-existing medical conditions, espcially after a liver transplant...
Travatl From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 2174 posts, RR: 6
Reply 6, posted (7 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 2132 times:
A portable electronic device that does NOT transmit/receive a signal may be used on board a commercial aircraft when the aircraft is not in a "critical phase" of flight (i.e. under 10,000 feet). A portable electronic device that DOES transmit/receive a signal may never be used aboard a commercial aircraft while in flight.
ExFATboy From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2974 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (7 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 1984 times:
Thanks for the report! Nice to see US handle that so well.
It does raise the question of whether or not GPS is allowed - I'd always presumed any device that receives a signal from outside the plane is prohibited. So I poked around a little...turns out it's not that cut and dried:
On the other hand, AA and Qantas specifically list GPS as prohibited
US Airways policy (in the contract of carriage PDF, page 2) specifically says that AM and FM radios can be used during flight unless instructed otherwise by crew. TV receivers and radio transmitters are always banned. Doesn't mention GPS specifically. Out of all the policies I looked at, only US mentiones AM and FM as allowed.
None of the other airlines I checked (LH, CO, UA, NW, F9, WN, VS) mentioned GPS one way or the other - the US carriers generally list AM and FM radios and televisions as prohibited, a couple also mentioned CB radios. KLM prohibits use of any device "with an antenna", so that'd cover GPS.