1927: Tinder

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 14:54, 20 November 2023 by (talk) (Explanation: Punctuation of CN tag. Isn't guaranteed (just heavily implied) that assistance is sought - could be a fetish/interest wanted to be fulfilled (a fellow aviator), though clearly the joke is greatest to assume the practical need...)
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People keep telling me to use the radio but I really hate making voice calls.
Title text: People keep telling me to use the radio but I really hate making voice calls.


Tinder is a social media/dating app. The main interface of Tinder shows photos of people. Users swipe right for matches that they like, and left otherwise. The purpose of the app is to get dates, with the intent of a romantic relationship or sexual intercourse. However, in the comic, Cueball is trying to use it to primarily attract someone capable of flying a plane instead. If the request is genuine (and not just a foible), this is a bad situation, because it suggests Cueball is in charge of a plane that he is unable to fly, and unless he finds a match with someone who can (and is able to provide assistance) the plane will crash. Even then, unless the matched person happens to be on board, and therefore able to assist directly, providing help through Tinder messages is unlikely to be a sufficiently efficient way of solving the problem.[citation needed]

Alternatively, Cueball may simply be pretending that there is an emergency so that he can get matches on Tinder. In either case, depending on the jurisdiction, Cueball may be violating the law by using a cell phone that is not in "airplane mode" (in some phones, "flight mode" or "offline mode") when on an airplane. WiFi can be enabled on some flights during the entire flight; in others it may be banned during takeoff and landing. Even if he is either uploading the picture after the flight or using the in-flight internet service, he is still violating other, more serious laws (if he is a pilot, he may be liable for negligence, and if he is an ordinary passenger, God knows what he may have done...)

The title text explains that Cueball's unwise method for getting help stems from astonishingly skewed priorities and no small amount of selfishness. He claims to strongly dislike conversing over audio-only channels, and this dislike is apparently so overwhelming that he would rather jeopardize his life and that of any passengers on the plane, than put aside his own hang-ups. Even if we give Cueball the benefit of the doubt and assume that he has a phobia of public speaking, most human beings tend to automatically suspend their irrational anxieties when experiencing the fear of imminent mortal peril, at least until after the danger has passed. For example, those normally afraid of dating Cueball would "match" with him to prevent a plane crash, which may be his secret intent after all.

Randall may be satirizing people who use Tinder (and other similar social apps) by portraying an extreme caricature of a Tinder user.

This comic is similar to 1897: Self Driving, and as well as 582: Brakes, which also is about bad ways to get help in emergencies and other time-critical situations.

Note that the photo is at an angle, but the view out of the window shows the airplane to be in level flight. This could be due to haste taking the picture, or a feigned haste in taking the picture, or could suggest that, for whatever reason, the photo is making the situation seem worse than it is.


[A Smartphone is shown with the screen facing the viewer. On the screen is the Tinder UI. The main photo is of Cueball, in the cockpit of a plane which appears to be tilting to the right, holding up a makeshift sign saying:]
If you know how
to fly a plane
please swipe
right ASAP

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This comic reminds me of [1] (because of using an inappropriate form of communication in an emergency).

"Cueball is violating the law by using a cell phone that is not in "airplane mode" when on an airplane.", really? I don't think it's an actual "law" since the entire concept is based on garbage and bullshit (you'd have to be in the cockpit AND within about 2 feet of the equipment in question in order to interfere with it. For both airplanes and hospitals the rule is actually just to try to bully people into being considerate to the people around them). I believe it's just a rule set by the FAA or some other governing body. Also, I believe said rule is limited to during take off and landing, not the entire flight. NiceGuy1 (talk) 07:31, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

  • I also wondered about "Cueball is violating the law by using a cell phone that is not in "airplane mode" when on an airplane.", but for a different reason: How do we now that the phone is not in airplane mode, but which activated wifi? As some airlines (at least in Europe) offer wifi on board, it would be quite common (and allowed) to be able to use online services on a phone while flying (but not other wireless signals, e.g. phone calls). Scm (talk) 09:00, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Actually, you're correct (at least in the US). However, some countries has actual laws that either explicitly do not allow phone usage on a plane (e.g. Japan) or do not allow it implicitly (In Russia, using licensed radio frequencies above a certain height is not allowed unless the regulator allows that use) - 10:29, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
I understand the reason for turning off cellular connections is not for the safety of the aircraft but the safety of the cellular network. Having phones hopping between cells at 400 mph is out of spec for the technology and causes problems. 17:59, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
There are more legitimate (at least in the eyes of the government, for example Russia fears spys using weather baloons and radio to signal something) reasons than that it will interfere with the plane (unless that plane is seriously broken) 23:23, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Actually, as far as I know, the point of Airplane Mode is to cut off ALL communication, including Wifi. NiceGuy1 (talk) 02:51, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
To suggest that there is a meaningful difference (in this context) between a rule and a law is silly; the FAA can (and has) fined individuals for using cell phones *during takeoff*. Does it matter if the fine was for breaking a rule or for breaking a law?
Can't get arrested for breaking a rule. :) But mostly just talking about being accurate here. Dramatic exaggerations bug me. :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 02:51, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Actually, in the US or on a US carrier you can get arrested for not doing pretty much whatever the flight attendant tells you (sit down, disembark, etc.). Per the FAA, this is called "interfering with the duties of a crewmember" and violates federal law. Federal Aviation Regulations 91.11, 121.580 and 135.120 state that "no person may assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crewmember in the performance of the crewmember's duties aboard an aircraft being operated." So yeah, you can be arrested for violating a regulation, or "rule". And basically in general, you can certainly be jailed for violating a regulation. And not just in the US: a coach passenger on the Niki airline that just declared bankruptcy today was arrested for using the first class restroom.
More importantly, in the scenario shown Cueball has somehow found himself in the role of PIC (pilot in command) and in an emergency situation. Assuming he declares the emergency he can freely violate any and all FAA rules that he believes will help in resolving the emergency (that's the FAA's rule).
  • I think it's absolutely charming that you believe that a law can't be "based on garbage and bullshit". 17:08, 2 January 2018 (UTC)

I'm not sure that the interpretation that he may be making up the emergency to gain matches really makes sense, given the title text - since the radio wouldn't really help him in that case. 17:19, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

So, does anyone know what is the minimum size of a plane to have that style of cockpit? Jcc10 (talk) 01:23, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

"In either case, Cueball is violating the law by using a cell phone that is not in "airplane mode" (in some phones, flight mode or offline mode) when on an airplane."

Or maybe he's not actually on a plane, but simply wants to hook up with someone who's interested enough in planes to know how to fly one. Wwoods (talk) 01:16, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

Why is the explanation talking about passengers? It's possible this is small airplane and Cueball is only person on board (after the pilot decided to rather parachute out than answer yet another Cueball's question, for example.) -- Hkmaly (talk) 03:18, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

Possible, though who took the picture? 15:41, 13 December 2017 (UTC) Kyle
Self timer? -- Hkmaly (talk) 02:34, 15 December 2017 (UTC)

Notice the contrast difference between the cockpit and Cueball. (I swear, I didn't do that assonance on purpose.) I think Cueball green-screened himself into the cockpit for a cool Tinder photo, which would also explain the odd angles mentioned in the current article. Nitpicking (talk) 22:59, 23 January 2023 (UTC)

A Similar joke (about flying) is in 2757: Towed Message -- KingPenguin (talk) 14:32, 6 April 2023 (UTC)

HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW HOW TO FLY A PLANE?! Psychoticpotato (talk) 12:45, 9 May 2024 (UTC)