FAA to relax ban on use of electronic devices

Hooray! More time with my Kindle!

Hooray! More time with my Kindle!

Good news? Bad news? Depends.

The FAA (according to Fox News) is going to relax the restrictions on using some personal electronic devices on runways and at low altitudes. Examples given were eReaders, cell phones (in airplane mode), and tablets. Frequent fliers get very frustrated with the ridiculous rules and varying degrees of strictness, so I assume a lot of people will be glad to hear this. We’ve known for a long time that the use of these devices has no inherent risk, and yet the FAA has continued the ban.

The article quotes George Hobica of AirfareWatchdog.com as thinking this will lead to the FAA allowing phone calls, but I don’t think this is the case. The phone call ban is completely different from the electronics ban IMO, and should be continued.

My own experience has been that most people don’t even turn off their electronics. I turn off my phone (mostly because it really drains the battery to be on in the air) but not my Kindle, and I’ve noticed most of my neighbors doing the same. I do occasionally get asked to turn my Kindle off, but almost never in first class.

Readers, what has your experience been? Do you think the FAA relaxing its ban is a good thing?


  1. FAA needs more sensible policies. Banning Kindles during take-off doesn’t reduce risk one single bit.

  2. The electronics are a major distraction in event of an emergency at take off or landing.

    Just went through a landing evacuation today (in the middle of the runway) where we were told when we touched down to leave everything behind, get to the isles and exit out the front door to the right and away from the plane. About 30% of the female passengers chose to take their purses and handbags delaying the evacuation. In those purses and handbags were cell phones that came out to take pictures before their owners had safely cleared the plane.

    Case closed. Listen to the attendants and keep the devices off when asked.

  3. I don’t mind Kindles, but I don’t look forward to a dozen people carring on conversations on their phones around me. Why do people still think they have to talk loud into thier cells? I’ll definite carry the noise canceling headset for now on. It might help.

  4. So, you’re saying that you knowingly leave your electronic device on, even after FAA regulations and the FAs ask you to turn it off. You must be an engineer or a physicist in order to be so confident that the rules don’t apply to you.

  5. People whjo ignore the FA instructions on this drive me nuts. It’s not just whether the rules apply: it’s whether people can (a) hear and (b) obey the instructions of the FAs. I have seen people on planes have to be shaken by the FAs doing the pre-departure check to get them to turn their electronics off because their headphones had prevented them hearing the announcements. If we have to evacuate, I want those people listening and following instructions – not catching up later and shoving their way among those who were paying attention. Which brings me to (b): in my book, if you are so arrogant that you think the FA instructions don’t apply to you and you can do what you like, you are also going to be the one who ignores said FAs when it comes to an emergency.

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