8 Responses

  1. Wilson (@WilsonCalvert)
    Wilson (@WilsonCalvert) at |

    I’m not too worried about the interference because I think so many people ignore the no transmitting mode right now anyway. It seems like a regular occurrence that I hear the beep of a phone receiving a text/email on final approach.

    We live in a world where we are constantly reevaluating ourselves in terms of who can do what and when (for example, texting while driving) and I don’t see this having any discernible difference in safety. Definitely not on a consistent basis.

    I think that the flight attendants should just ignore people and there devices and everything will be fine. Inspecting devices for airplane mode would be rather silly.

  2. Alan
    Alan at |

    I’d just keep things really simple. eBooks and tablets below 10k, fine – however no headphones and no laptops (as tray tables would still need to be up). This would balance the majority of the risks mentioned, whilst still providing a big step forward for passengers!

  3. omatravel
    omatravel at |

    Currently you can’t place laptops in seat back pockets or hold them during TO or landing. I imagine the these restrictions will continue due to the weight and size of the objects involved. As such you’ll still have to put your laptop back in your bag during those phases of flight.

  4. DaveS
    DaveS at |

    I think you raise valid points. I think that really it’s OK to go 15 minutes of my life separated from electronic devices from time to time at takeoff and landing. Yes if I could have free wifi I’d probably be all over it, but I guess I’m just not as addicted as some. A flight is a bit of a break for me, and often a welcome one.

  5. Andrew
    Andrew at |

    Seth, I think you inadvertently hit on what I’ll call the “hypocrisy” of the current rule. The stated reason for the current rule is the potential for electronic devices to interfere with aircraft systems, etc in the critical phases of flight. However, we all know that’s B.S. and that my Kindle in airplane mode has zero effect on the flight deck. The more valid point, as you say, is people not paying attention to flight attendants, or a bunch of electronic devices flying through the air in the case of an emergency. But that’s never been the stated reason for the rule, although that’s the much better justification for no electronic devices below 10,000 feet!

    If the concern is safety, the rule needs to be changed from “no electronic devices” (because let’s be honest–the guy with the paper version of the Wall Street Journal spread open, blocking his entire view of the cabin, is just as likely to miss a key safety announcement as the person reading the paper on their Kindle) to “you’re not allowed to be doing anything during the safety briefing and first few minutes of flight.”

    Having said that, I don’t follow your point about flight attendants needing to now judge whether something is in airplane mode vs. on/off. They don’t do that now (how could they?), so why would that change? Currently, if a flight attendant can’t see an electronic device, it’s “off” to them. Every single person can have their phone in airplane mode (and I suspect most do), but if it’s in the seat back pocket, the FA’s have no idea. This rule really changes nothing in that regard, in my mind.

  6. Michael Mays
    Michael Mays at |

    According to the NY Times (1), the reason for the original rule decades ago was because people were using their CB radios on planes and these devices were interfering with the electronics on board the plane. ( 😉 ) Things have changed. Planes are electronically harder (though not 100% harden of course), devices aren’t pumping out watts of power, … . According to the same source (2) the reason cell phones are not allowed is because of the problems incurred with phones in planes and their cell towers not the electronics on the plane.

    If anything this decision will make things easier for Flight Attendants. If you are not using your phone as a phone in a manner obvious as such to the FA then the FA has fulfilled their obligation.

    True the time a plane spends under 10,000 feet is orders of magnitude more likely to incur an incident demanding total attention from everyone and using the newly allowed device will distract from these incidents. But sleeping, reading and many more things are as likely or much more likely to prevent this as are playing with these devices. If impediment upon safety is the argument then these activities should be forbidden also.

    (1) http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/answers-to-readers-questions-about-electronics-on-planes/

    (2) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/technology/faa-nears-new-rules-on-devices.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0