For years, the restriction on the use of electronic devices on airplanes has been one of the most hotly-debated, and possibly dumbest, restrictions ever put into place by the Federal Aviation Administration. Perhaps long ago, before the rise of shielded electronics, it made sense to ban all electronic devices from use during plane flights, but not any more. If you can use it at 35,000 feet, and planes can somehow take off while being constantly bombarded with radio, television, WiFi, cellular, and microwave radiation from all sides (as they are in every airport in any major city), it only makes sense to allow the use of electronics during takeoff and landing. The FAA has given the go-ahead to lift the ban on electronics on plane flights. All a carrier has to do is show the FAA that their planes aren’t affected by device use during flight, and they’ll be free to set their own rules on the subject.
Per the FAA’s website: Passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions. Electronic items, books and magazines, must be held or put in the seat back pocket during the actual takeoff and landing roll. Cell phones should be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled — i.e., no signal bars displayed — and cannot be used for voice communications based on FCC regulations that prohibit any airborne calls using cell phones.
You’ll still have to have your cellular service disabled, but that’s a small price to pay, especially if you get on a flight with WiFi enabled. That should be enough to get the most gadget-hungry passenger through a flight (or to distract a nervous passenger with downloaded cat videos or movies during the scary takeoff section of a plane ride). If pilots can drink coffee–a much more dangerous force than cellular signals–then I should be free to play a game on my tablet.
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