The phone would only come off of the headrest if a card was swiped first ? Would continuing calls from that unit be under that card or could an alternate card # be entered ?
Yes, the phones were locked into the headrest. You had to swipe a card through the front-end box before you could take out the phone. I imagine the calls would be billed to the card you swiped automatically, unless you manually entered a credit card number. In the case of the cell phone calls, what I think happened was similar to this:
1. swipe card to unlock phone
2. punch in sequence of digits to 'open' cellular connection via the picocell in the back-end
3. pull out your cellphone
4. type in your credit card number into your cellphone's keypad
I'm just trying to explain why only the people who had cellular # reported on Caller ID (Burnett, Britton and Wainio) had all manually entered their card numbers, while everyone else on United 93 simply swiped their credit card. This is glaring for Burnett, he enters his card # for all of his "airphone" calls. My question is, why? What was stopping these people from simply swiping their card to pay for the call? You had to swipe your credit card to even unlock the phone in the first place.
I've heard one person say they were trying to buy minutes...it's like nah. Those calls were all to family members or loosely connected airline/GTE airphone people. The calls are billed automatically via the card you swiped, there was no need to buy minutes.