Ready for takeoff? FAA considers changing rules on ebooks

The iPhone's Airplane Mode setting.

An FAA advisory committee is considering relaxing rules on the use of electronics, such as Kindles and e-books, on flights. 

Until now, the FAA banned the use of smartphones and other electronics during take-off and landing due to safety concerns, even if the phone or device wasn't transmitting data.

"For so long there were these safety fears, they weren't really proven, there was no evidence for many of the studies that had been done," says Farhad Manjoo, who covers technology for the Wall Street Journal.

''I used to think about the plane as a break from all the other stuff we have going on. I used to get a print newspaper before getting on a plane, because that was the only thing you were allowed to do," Manjoo says. "Now, I think of it as working time. Especially now that we have Internet on the plane, I can do a lot of work on there. I can't anymore kind of justify those 10 minutes that I have to sit there and not do anything."

"You could argue that it's making us more productive, I think you could also argue that it's eating into any leisure time that we used to have," Manjoo says. "I think some people looked forward to the plane, because that would be the time they wouldn't have to respond to furious emails from their bosses or colleagues, they could credibly claim an excuse for that. And now they can't."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

Comments

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