I will admit that I turn my phone off airplane mode on approach. I leave the WiFi off, but let my phone seek out and connect with my communications carrier prior to landing. Which means that I am also doing that well before the cabin attendant has announced that “use of small, personal electronic devices to include cell phones is now allowed.”
I started this practice a number of years ago, right after SFO adopted the use of Mobile Passport. Since I was flying into the US regularly from overseas locations, and being too cheap to fund a system that the government should be providing, Mobile Passport proved ideal. But, you can’t load your data to include entry information if you are not connected. WiFi works, or phone carrier network works. Initially, the App always went for Wifi, and if it was turned on and not connected, then you were stuck. So I developed the habit of turning on my phone without the WiFi on approach, loading the data and then being at baggage claim eight minutes after exiting the plane. That is right, eight minutes. Easy, Peasy, no lines. faster at SFO that Global Entry. Faster than the kiosks which were a huge improvement over static lines which took forever (which anyone who entered through US Immigration in Houston or Toronto up until the last couple of years can attest). I can’t say how things are now, since I haven’t been out of the US for almost a year. For that matter, the last time I went any where was last June to DC for the ISTM meeting. I can’t claim attempt to decrease my carbon footprint – family and baseball just have disrupted my schedule along with grad school which wiped out any opportunity at the Spring TA season.
But anyway, turning on my phone is just habit. Besides, I needed something to read while waiting my opportunity to escape the plane, being seated in row 34/36. (and, just so you know, rows 33 and 35 don’t exist on this particular plane). It was packed to the gills complete with a number of families (small crying and screaming children), a number of travelers who didn’t see to comprehend that ONE carryon doesn’t mean a roller, a duffle bag, a computer bag, a backpack and some shopping bags.
I could partly understand those members of the Chinese tour group, which numbered about 40, having more than a small back pack. But the rest of the passengers? Especially those who were sitting up front and could check luggage? Not so much. My backpack, with a week’s worth of computer, clothing and cross stitch, fit under the seat in front of me, which turned out to be a really good thing. The pilot was cheerful, one cabin attendant (obviously the one on the tannoy) spoke with the speed of light, and the other two trudged up and down the plane attempting to hand out pretzels and beverages.
I am now ensconced in my Houston hotel with a 0700 scheduled return trip to the airport in the morning. From there I am off to Galveston and a week on the Liberty of the Seas with the plan of completing the rest of my last outstanding paper somewhere with a latte machine, meals prepared, and no other demands on my time. Since George is now on an every two week schedule for UCSF, this seemed like an ideal window of opportunity. The Liberty was the RCCL ship with a reasonably priced cabin available. RCCL because I see no reason to pay for wifi and am sure that I will need it.