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Yes to Portable Electronic Device Use on Airplanes

This afternoon, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced it will be taking a look at the rules on using portable electronic devices during flights.

It’s about time.

It strikes me as silly that I can read a book at take-off, but if the book has been downloaded to an e-reader or tablet, then I have to wait until we’ve reached 10,000 feet or some arbitrary cut-off determined by the government or the airlines. Reading is reading and it shouldn’t make a difference whether I bought a book or newspaper at Hudson News or downloaded the same content while waiting to board my flight. And since most hardback books are heavier than an e-reader, please don’t tell me that this is a “safety issue.”

The bottom line is that this has always struck me as an antiquated rule that no one could explain, especially since there are several airlines that offer tablets for their pilots. In the Air Force, our fighter pilots may soon be wearing tablets to provide them with real-time information!

As CTIA's general counsel also noted in a recent NYT story, there was a study that was conducted more than 10 years ago that found there was no interference from mobile devices. Six years ago, one of my favorite TV shows, MythBusters, proved that cellphones don’t cause interference problems during flights. We can also look at other countries that have already allowed cellphones on airplanes.

Now whether consumers want to allow cellphone conversations on airplanes is another story, but the market should decide that, not the government. In the meantime, it’s time for these other restrictions to fall. The use of portable electronic devices while on a flight – the whole flight - should absolutely be allowed.

18 Responses to “Yes to Portable Electronic Device Use on Airplanes” Leave a reply ›

  • avatar

    This needs to happen. With the recent plague of court drama over Alec Baldwin playing a game on his cell while flying, it's only gonna get worse. People rely on their cells for daily entertainment as well as social media. I for one use mine daily if not hourly. I would be lost if something happened to it.

  • avatar

    I also think that the rules are silly because as you said long ago the theory of electronic devices interferring with the airplane's own electronic devices have been disproved. I sure hope my days of suffering on long haul flights are over.....bah humbug!

  • avatar

    The problem is that you people who blindly advocate the indiscriminate use of PEDs on aircraft haven't got a clue about the technicalities or risk behind it and the reasons why the rules are in place. Commercial flying is probably the most safety conscious and safe form of travel there is, and it is because of such rules.
    There is popular belief in the aviation industry that at least one aircraft has been lost because of interference caused by the unauthorised use of PEDs, but it is almost impossible to prove.
    Aircrew are allowed to use electronic flight bags (iPads) etc under very tightly controlled conditions for very good reason. They have been extensively tested and are used by trained professionals who understand the risks and rules.
    Sooner or later there WILL be an incident proven to be caused by a PED and I hope someone goes to jail for endangering an aircraft - I just hope I'm not aboard it when it happens!
    What's the problem if passengers are "deprived" of their precious toys for a few minutes - are they so important and can't live without them. How sad they are!

  • avatar

    Often some arbitrary reason is given as to why not a cell phone is allowed to be used in a plane.However, as far as I am concerned I wont mind dropping of my cell phone for couple of hours since i hardly travel by plane.

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