A woman was fined 100 yuan ($15.70) for insisting on using her cell phone when a plane she was on was landing on Sunday, according to a local media report.
The passenger, who is more than 70 years old and was not named in the report, said she hadn’t known how to turn off her cell phone, which was ringing when the plane was about to land, the Guiyang Evening News reported on Monday. (China Daily)
OK, yes, Air China was enforcing the law. Whichever side you come down on in the mobile phone EMI debate, rules are rules. (BTW, if you are interested in that debate, James Fallows has posted numerous times on the topic.)
On the other hand, this particular rule is broken on approximately, I don’t know, ALL of China’s domestic flights, along with the “Remain Seated With Your Seat Belts Fastened Until the Plane Comes to a Complete Stop” rule. So we’ve got a selective prosecution type issue here.
Why did they choose to go after a woman who is 70+ years old? It’s certainly possible that she was unaware of the rule and did actually panic and couldn’t figure out how to switch off her phone, particularly if someone was shouting at her at the time. And 100 RMB might actually be real money to someone on a fixed income.
I suppose it’s possible that this woman knew exactly what she was doing and was simply being a self-entitled dick. Could have happened, but I’m predisposed to give senior citizens the benefit of the doubt when it comes to a combination of air travel and new technology.
I bet Air China could have found some self-important asshole businessman talking about the latest stock tip on his iPhone instead of this old woman.