Coming soon to a takeoff near you: Electronics? Maybe! If you’ve been on a plane at any point since the dawn of the AA battery, then you know that your iPhones, iPads, iPods, Kindles, Game Boys, etc, all need to be stowed under your seat for take-off. The argument is that the electronics’ signals may interfere with the pilots’ instruments and kill everyone on board, but the Federal Aviation Administration realizes we’re not falling for that one anymore.
The FAA recently announced that a committee is going to re-visit the reasons for the takeoff/landing ban on passenger electronics. Currently, if a plane is below 10,000 feet, passengers need to have their electronic devices shut off and stowed. Thing is, planes are heavily protected against the possibility of interference and cellphones don’t use the same frequencies as aviation channels.
No Furbys on planes. Not now. Not ever.
But there are other reasons for the ban, including maintaining minimal distractions while the safety briefing is going on, and the fact that the average passenger might go loco on a seat-mate who’s gobbling away on his or her cellphone. In fact, if the ban is lifted, talking on cellphones during flights would remain verboten.
Lifting the ban seems like a no-brainer, but the topic is actually quite divisive. Individuals in favor of the ban wonder if we can’t just get along without our electronics for 20 minutes at a time and pick up a book or talk to a seat-mate instead. People who want to see the ban overturned argue that electronic distractions make things a lot easier for nervous flyers and toddlers. And if you’ve ever been stuck on a plane that needs to fly under 10,000 for an extended period of time due to turbulence, that 20 minute blackout can extend into some painful hours.
What do you think?