Ding! You are now free to use your tablets during takeoff

RNC chairman Reince Priebus (L) looks on as Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney works on his iPad aboard his campaign plane on October 29, 2012.

It can be hard to feel anything other than soul-crushing frustration when you’re flying: the baggage fees, the security line, the cramped seats. Today, score one for us human sardines!

You were right. We all were right. Our readers and tablets aren’t going to bring down airplanes.

The FAA will allow electronic devices throughout the flight. 

“My 17-year-old son thinks this is the coolest thing around,” says Federal Aviation administrator Michael HuertaYou’ll be able to keep on reading, or listening to music, but you’ve still got to turn off the cell phone part of your phone. 

“This is a game changer,” says Joseph Schwieterman, a transportation expert at DePaul University.  He added up all the digital time lost because of powering down during takeoff and landing and found more than 105 million hours of “disrupted technological activity.” “Now people will be able to plan to do work or plan to stay connected; people find it therapeutic to use their devices, so airlines certainly will welcome this,” says Schwieterman. 

 It’s also a win for airplane wireless providers. Shares of the in-flight wifi company GoGo rose more than 4 percent. 

 And, the rules mean flight attendants will get to stop nagging people to turn off their Kindles.

 “We want to make sure there is consistency across the board in how this rule is implemented,” says Veda Shook, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants. She hopes it’s not going to be used as a marketing tool by airlines, as a way to get an advantage over each other. Flight attendants have already had to do their fair share of arguing about the rules.    

 

About the author

Adriene Hill is the senior multimedia reporter for LearningCurve.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...