Air China Rant

I was going to send this to AirChina, but that seems pointless now. A quick search of the web brings up hundreds (probably more like thousands) of complaints about service quality. I'll just add mine here.

To AirChina,

I am composing this to you onboard flight CA861 to Geneva, direct from Beijing. I am using a laptop computer, having just been informed by the flight attendant that cell phones (even in flight mode) cannot be used at any time during the flight. I am not sure if I am being singled out for some reason, as I have seen a number of passangers reading text on their cell phone screens throughout the flight. I listened to music during the flight to Beijing, and never had any complaints from the service staff.

The cabin staff chief assures me that I can use an ipad, a tablet computer, or a laptop… just not a cell phone (even in flight mode, which means all radios turned off). This is the first time that I have encountered this policy on any airline. It's like a rule from the 1980's. Just baffling to me.

The phone I was using does not have any radio emitter activated (flight mode). Usually this is sufficient to safeguard against any interference with the aircraft, as I understand it. I am sure you are aware that many tablets and laptops also accept sim cards, so I am curious what distinction is being made in this case, singling out the use of what are essentially small tablets (smart phones).

Am I correct in my understanding that if I had a 7 inch ‘tablet’ with a sim card, I would be able to use the device during the flight? I would appreciate a response to this inquiry!

The chief flight attendant in the cabin seems to believe that it is due to the fact that a cell phone, with no sim card, in flight mode, can be used to make an emergency call.
If this is the reasoning, I believe a more useful policy would be to forbid the use of cell phones to make emergency calls, however, I don’t believe this position to be technically correct.

I would like to take this opportunity to also suggest some revision of the inflight entertainment hardware. The controls for the personal screens are in terrible condition, and frustrating for most passengers to use. Some regular maintenance, or an up to date system may improve satisfaction among passengers.
As long as I am assessing the quality of this flight, compared with previous international flights, I will just add that the food service seems to be slightly insufficient, in terms of quantity. Also the bathrooms are not in a hygienic condition.

The staff do seem willing to provide assistance when necessary, and apparently are happy to enforce the rules about cell phone usage that I believe are unique to Air China.

Thank you for your attention, and your response.
Your customer

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