CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Culture

Passengers jailed five days in China for phone use on plane

Commentary: In China, airplane mode isn't acceptable during flights. As more than one passenger recently discovered.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


This doesn't go down well on a Chinese plane.

Roberto Machado Noa, LightRocket via Getty Images

The science of whether cell phones affect airplane navigation systems seems muddy at best.

Most people, though, have become used to setting their phones to airplane mode.

In China, though, things are a little different. As China.org reports, three different passengers on flights between January 5 and February 6 were arrested for using their phones on planes.

A woman named Zhang allegedly refused to turn off her phone during take-off and actually made calls during a flight. She was held in jail for five days.

A second passenger named Niu was also detained for a cell phone offense but got only three days.

The final passenger, whose last name is Wang, was perhaps the most unfortunate. This passenger -- whose sex wasn't revealed -- allegedly listened to music during take-off and landing. Wang also got five days, the maximum for a cell phone offense. Fines can also be imposed up to 50,000 yuan (around $7,265).

Chinese authorities insist that all phones must be switched off during flights. They aren't convinced that airplane mode blocks all signals. Oddly, though, tablets don't fall under the same strictures as phones.

There had been some official word that the phone rules might be relaxed last year. Instead, nothing appears to have happened.

Of course, you might have expected Zhang, Niu and Wang to have been aware of the rules.

Perhaps they thought they wouldn't get caught. Or perhaps the lure of the phone -- as it is for so many people -- was just a little too much.