Arianna Huffington & Her In-Flight BlackBerry Bruhaha

Heather Murphy-Raines
My kids know the look. The tense neck. The wildly gesticulating hands. Odds are? There is someone driving 15 mph under the speed limit and weaving as if drunk, talking on a cell phone in front of our car.

The irony? I once did it myself, but since our state made driving with a phone to your ear illegal, the speaker phone is my friend.

Now imagine a similar situation, but instead of putting a phone to her ear in a car, you were sitting next to someone who flaunted the rules about turning off electronic devices on a flight as instructed. How would you react?

I, myself, would go from irritable to enraged.

Last week, Arianna Huffington, liberal commentator extraordinaire, continued to use her phone during a flight. Apparently, rules and passenger safety weren't as important as her email. She's lucky I wasn't sitting next to her with my three kids. Beware the mama bear ...


Is Airplane Mode Okay?
Funny enough, there was a papa bear on the United Express flight operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines from Washington to New York. Ellis Belodoff, 53, of Plainview, Long Island, became outraged. He states:

She was putting the use of her BlackBerry ahead of the safety of the entire plane. It was purely her own self-interest she was concerned with.

After he repeatedly tried to get the crew's attention, he was finally able to convince the flight attendant to ask Huffington to turn off her BlackBerry. The flight attendant also told HIM to "calm down."

Excuse me? Seriously. I consider the guy a hero. Let's keep him riled and vigilant.

Calm down when you see someone flaunting the rules and more importantly flaunting your safety? 

Last week, a false hijacking alert was triggered and a plane was diverted for a simple coffee spill. What kind of damage would be incurred, if added to that error, there was an inability to communicate that the hijacking alert was a false alarm because passengers were interfering with signals by remaining on their crackberries?

What I consider worse has been Arianna's response since the incident. Her handlers are calling it a non-story and blowing off concerns: "Apparently, the passenger was quite agitated. Arianna thought he didn't like his snacks ... Perhaps he was an iPhone fan."

I am not laughing. Furthermore, had I been next to her on that plane with my babies, she'd have been lucky to have gotten off that plane with her phone in one piece. 

Yes, call me a cranky old lady of 38.

Yep, you'll see me to continue to wave my hands at those douche bags driving on the same road as my family with phone in their hand.

I have good company.

According to CNN, a 68-year-old Idaho man was charged with misdemeanor battery after police say he hit a teenager who refused to turn off his iPhone while the plane was taxiing for takeoff. Physical violence might have been extreme, but it's better than ending up dead, eh? 

Thoughts? Do you drive with a phone attached to your ear? Push the limits of using your phone after the pilot requests they be turned off? How would you have reacted to Arianna?

Images via Scout's Honor & pouwerkerk and rofltosh/Flickr

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