Home 23,000 iPhone 6 Pluses Slated For United Flight Attendants

23,000 iPhone 6 Pluses Slated For United Flight Attendants

Airplanes, brace yourselves: Apple’s giving 23,000 of its mammoth smartphones to flight attendants at United Airlines. 

Next spring, the United flight crews who satisfy our cravings for snacks or miniature wine bottles will use the iPhone 6 Plus to charge us for those treats. The devices will also keep them connected, at least on the ground, where attendants can use the phones to check their emails and manuals. 

See also: Five Travel Hacks To Save Time, Money, And Sanity On Your Next Flight

It’s striking that an industry that forced passengers to shut off their phones for years has been increasingly stepping onto the mobile bandwagon. In 2012, American Airlines announced plans to pass out Galaxy Notes to 17,000 of its flight attendants.

Almost as if the Android versus iPhone wars have taken to the air, United chose the rival iOS mobile device, and plans to expand its crews’ usage, eventually letting them use the big smartphones to report cabin issues or use apps designed as customer service tools.

The Planes vs. Phones Smackdown

Phones on planes have become a hot-button topic, and in a variety of ways.

Many airlines slowly began easing restrictions, acquiescing to passenger demand by permitting gadgets to operate in “airplane mode,” which shuts off all wireless signals. Some allow controlled Wi-Fi through expensive third-party carriers like GoGo Inflight Internet. The Federal Communications Commission still hasn’t officially ended its ban on cell phone calls inflight, though it has been mulling it over for about a year.

In a twist on the “planes vs. phones” tussle, the Wall Street Journal reported last month that a covert program by the U.S. Marshals Service used planes with high-tech gear to surveil nearby cell phones. The law enforcement organization reportedly outfitted Cessna aircraft with “dirtboxes,’’ or devices that impersonate cellular towers, so nearby phones would hop on the signal and report their location and other identifying information. 

Photo courtesy of United Airlines

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