At long last, the Federal Aviation Authority announced this week that we can use personal electronic devices all the way through our plane trips -- even during takeoff and landing-- as long as we're not actually talking on the phone.
But first, airlines will have to prove to the FAA that their planes can stand up to the challenge of passengers reading e-books and playing “Angry Birds." Delta and JetBlue bragged yesterday that they’d already submitted plans to the FAA, and American hopes to get theirs in today.
We asked FAA administrator Michael Huerta how long till they get the green light. By year’s end was as specific as he’d get. ("Well," he said, "it depends on how complete the plan is.")
So, what happens when people show up today -- or tomorrow -- expecting to play “Words With Friends” from gate to gate? Are we going to be seeing a lot of Alec Baldwin situations?
Probably not. Andrew Thomas, who wrote the book on air rage, says most of us are ready to act like sheep.
"You’re just told to shut up and listen to orders," he says. "Whether you like it or not, you’ve got to sit there and take it."
The big exceptions: The mentally ill, the intoxicated, CEOs, and celebrities -- folks who think the rules don’t apply to them.
"When a flight attendant who’s not making much more than minimum wage tells them they’ve gotta do something, they’re not able to deal with it very well," says Thomas.
The rest of us will wait our turn. Or pretend to.
“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VABEFORE YOU GO