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BA aborts flight over ringing mobile phone

Laptops allowed back - but leave the milk at home

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A British Airways flight from London to New York turned back on Sunday after an apparently ownerless mobile phone began to ring at the back of the aircraft, CNN reports.

One of the passengers aboard flight BA 179 told the BBC: "When the plane took off a mobile phone started ringing." This provoked a security risk assessment by BA's Heathrow security team. Although it decided it was safe for the flight to continue, the pilot opted to head for home as a "precautionary measure".

A BA statement explained: "A mobile phone was located on board the aircraft which none of the passengers appeared to own. The captain assessed the situation with BA's security team at Heathrow and it was decided that it was safe to continue.

"However the captain decided to return to Heathrow as a precaution. The captain explained his decision to the 217 passengers on board the aircraft. We apologise to customers for the inconvenience but their safety is our number one priority and we will always err on the side of caution."

This is indeed erring on the side of caution, which begs the question: how will BA respond when Naomi Campbell boards a flight to New York armed to the teeth with mobile phone and jewel-encrusted Blackberry and subsequently fights her way from First Class to cattle class looking to administer a technology-assisted punishment beating to some hapless personal assistant?

We imagine that the RAF shooting down the aircraft as a precautionary measure might be the option of choice from the BA airborne terror threat manual.

Meanwhile, the PC industry can rest easy after the UK authorities announced that passengers will now be allowed to bring a single piece of hand luggage measuring 45cm by 35cm by 16cm onto planes. Laptops and other electrical items can be stuffed into such bags, but will have to be removed for screening. Liquids, except babymilk and medicines, are still forbidden.®

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