FAA to reconsider tablet restrictions on flights by end of year

posted at 1:21 pm on March 25, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

If you fly anywhere in the world, as it turns out, you get to hear the flight attendants instruct all passengers to power off all electronic devices with an on-off button. On my way from Rome to Amsterdam, I flew KLM instead of Delta, but it made no difference in the use of tablets or computers. However, according to both the New York Times and CBS, the FAA may soon revise those rules in the US, thanks to a wealth of scientific evidence that shows no interference with electronic instruments on airplanes:

What changed things was that last year the FAA allowed some airline pilots to use their iPads in the cockpit. That started the ball rolling towards the loosening of certain restrictions.

Smartphones are not included in the consideration for looser restrictions because their use is governed by the FCC, and many hope that won’t change, Greenberg reports.

The FAA is only going to deal with readers and tablets and maybe some other electronic devices at altitudes of below than 10,000 feet.

The argument has been that you couldn’t use them below 10,000 feet, but Greenberg argues that those lower altitudes are actually the exact time they should be allowed: below below 10,000 feet, the pilot is in positive control of the airplane. If something were to happen, the pilot could actually override controls. At 35,000 feet, when you’re traveling nearly 600 miles an hour, any small change to the flaps or something similar could destroy the plane.

So there hasn’t been a lot of logic in the current FAA rules, and it’s finally coming home to roost, Greenberg says.

Why not cell phones? As CBS and the NYT note, that’s governed by the FCC, but they don’t explain the real problem. Cell phones work by transferring phones from one cell to another as people are in motion. If entire planefuls of people operated their cellphones while flying at any level, it would create a headache for cell operations, not for the airplanes themselves. The FAA hasn’t issued a rule on their use because of the redundancy it would create, and the FCC isn’t going to back away from that stand. Those problems are real, and the rule serves an actual purpose.

The same cannot be said of the restrictions on tablets and other electronic equipment, at least when in “airplane mode,” which turns off any cell-system connections. As CBS points out, the rule not only flies in the face of science and evidence, it also makes no sense. If tablets and computers interfered with airplane instruments, the last place you’d want them in operation is at 35,000 feet.

Like so many other government regulations, their continued existence in this case is only justified by their previous existence. We often talk about the benefits of zero-based budgeting, which forces organizations to budget without using any baselines from previous fiscal years and to justify every dollar spent. Maybe we should be forcing some zero-based regulatory cycles as well.

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Not gonna make a bit of difference to me cuz I don’t fly!

Scrumpy on March 25, 2013 at 1:22 PM

Hell, yeah, they should ban cell phones! No one wants to hear your damn conversation!

Blake on March 25, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Solitaire on the plane – Mom is going to be happy about this.

forest on March 25, 2013 at 1:24 PM

It still makes no sense to me that they would think my Kindle Fire HD which doesn’t even have 4G would somehow interfere with the cockpit instruments. Even without airplane mode turned on.

Doughboy on March 25, 2013 at 1:27 PM

. . . . . . . . . according to both the New York Times and CBS, the FAA may soon revise those rules in the US, thanks to a wealth of scientific evidence that shows no interference with electronic instruments on airplanes . . . . . . . . .

excerpt: Ed Morrisey

.
No chance of a saboteur using an electronic device, that’s deliberately designed to interfere with aircraft instruments, but is disguised as a “tablet”?
.
Well, it works in James Bond movies.

listens2glenn on March 25, 2013 at 1:27 PM

“Now it’s flying in the face of common sense and actual evidence.”

Like THAT has ever mattered in gubmint regulations!

I think the adminions get a bonus for purposely going anti-common-sense.

Marcola on March 25, 2013 at 1:27 PM

If entire planefuls of people operated their cellphones while flying at any level,

I would go nuts. I do not want to hear your conversation about 1) you’re on a plane, 2) how terrible your ex is, or 3) a business deal which should be a discreet conversation.

rbj on March 25, 2013 at 1:29 PM

The pilots use i-Pads in the cockpit as standard equipment.

Cell phones don’t cause any interference either but they’re simply distracting during the safety demonstrations….plus they’re extremely annoying to fellow passengers.

JetBlast on March 25, 2013 at 1:31 PM

I guess I don’t have a preference either way, but the thing I can never understand is what is the tidal wave of objection that this has to be changed. Is it really that much of an inconvenience to shut your device off for a short period of time?

I will say this, you keep pushing to make changes on what currently goes on in a confined space roaming the air at 30,000 ft, and you’re begging for trouble. People are stressed enough as it is.

reddevil on March 25, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Pilots use i-Pads in the cockpit as standard equipment so your i-Phone in row 35A won’t interfere with anything.

Cell phones are distractions during the safety demonstrations plus they’re extremely annoying to fellow passengers, hence their restrictions.

JetBlast on March 25, 2013 at 1:36 PM

Get to use my kindle fire
:)

cmsinaz on March 25, 2013 at 1:37 PM

I once heard that the FAA banned cell phones for when the day the tech’s freq strenth catches up, being powerful enough to interfere with plane’s systems, it would be covered. Kinda weird govt trying to predict the future of tech. That little cell sig is nothing compared to what the plane is pumping out.

ninjacoastie on March 25, 2013 at 1:38 PM

I guess I don’t have a preference either way, but the thing I can never understand is what is the tidal wave of objection that this has to be changed. Is it really that much of an inconvenience to shut your device off for a short period of time?

reddevil on March 25, 2013 at 1:33 PM

.
Business Professionals are expected to conduct business electronically, while flying.
For some businesses, even 20 minutes of an employee going “dark” can be costly.
.

I will say this, you keep pushing to make changes on what currently goes on in a confined space roaming the air at 30,000 ft, and you’re begging for trouble. People are stressed enough as it is.

reddevil
on March 25, 2013 at 1:33 PM

.
I can’t argue with that.

listens2glenn on March 25, 2013 at 1:41 PM

The FAA dolts have to justify their stupid decisions, and having to explain their knee-jerk reactions to irrelevant little devices in the first place.

Give me the cell phone talker any day, if only there were a way to keep the dude in front of me from gassing the entire flight, or the other dude sitting next to my son who picked his nose every 30 seconds.

Bishop on March 25, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Kinda weird govt trying to predict the future of tech. That little cell sig is nothing compared to what the plane is pumping out.

ninjacoastie on March 25, 2013 at 1:38 PM

.
It’s a sure thing, the government stays in CLOSE contact with Ray Kurzweil.

listens2glenn on March 25, 2013 at 1:44 PM

If entire planefuls of people operated their cellphones while flying at any level, it would create a headache for cell operations, not for the airplanes themselves.

Screw the headache for cell operations, I don’t want to be sitting next to somebody chatting away on their phone all the way from DC to Dallas, LA, or wherever. We all know who these people are. We’ve been behind them in line at the check-out line as they carry on self-important and/or inane conversations without any regard for the people around them.

If you thought air rage was bad before, just add cell phone use to the toxic soup that includes mindless TSA screening, snippy flight attendants, the folks that drag the coffin-sized “carry on” bags and spend 15 minutes trying to defy the laws of physics to cram it into an overhead bin, no leg room, and flight delays.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2013 at 1:47 PM

I admit, I once called mom from my cell phone on an altitude of about 4,000 ft (yes, there was reception!). My mom was waiting for me in the airport and knew for sure that I haven’t landed yet. Fortunately, she has a very healthy heart, or she’d probably croak up on the spot.

Anyway, I’m glad I don’t have to stop my chess game for the takeoff if I use a tablet. What about regular laptops, are they still verboten?

Archivarix on March 25, 2013 at 1:49 PM

I fly a LOT. I use a tablet for reading and it’s always bugged me that I have to turn off my tablet between the time the boarding door closes and when the plane reaches 10,000 feet.

On my flight home from Sydney on Saturday, the guy next to me was grumbling about having to turn off his reader and I pointed at the in-seat video screen and said, “Yeah, it’s a damned good thing there’s no electronics on the plane besides what us passengers bring aboard, right?”

The individual entertainment systems, of course, are looping ads the whole time we’re prohibited from using our own electronics.

flipflop on March 25, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Is it really that much of an inconvenience to shut your device off for a short period of time?

[reddevil on March 25, 2013 at 1:33 PM]

Only for the addicts and the inconsiderate, the latter applying more to those using cell phones.

Dusty on March 25, 2013 at 1:49 PM

At 35,000 feet, when you’re traveling nearly 600 miles an hour, any small change to the flaps or something similar could destroy the plane.

Sorry, but that statement right there destroys all the credibility of this story.

There is no way I am going to “destroy the plane” at ANY altitude by abrupt maneuvering, except by possibly driving it into the ground. (Let’s assume they fixed the 737 rudder problem from 25 years ago – which only occurred at low speed anyway.) But, to claim that it will be even more likely when I am in straight and level flight, with the engines throttled back to cruise is truly asinine. The most likely flight regime to break your jet and kill people is during takeoff, climbout, descent, and landing. Why? Because you’re 1) close to the ground, 2) operating at the “margins” of your flight envelope, 3) nearest to other aircraft, and 4) did I mention relatively close to the ground?

BTW, that translates to “below 10,000 feet” Above Ground Level. Pretty much all airliners (with the exception of the little commuter jobs) do below 10,000 feet is takeoff, climbout, descent and landing.

The real problem with having devices out and on during taxi, takeoff, climbout, descent and landing is people paying attention. If there’s an emergency, they want you watching and listening to them, not playing Angry Birds. The real point of contention is whether or not that is really enough of a distraction to regulate it in some way.

As to interference…. Anyone telling you that the emanations of your iPad or smartphone is going to make the plane start doing barrel rolls is an idiot. It’s not going to affect the fly-by-wire controls. The one real problem is any interference with the signals received by the navigational antennas. It would take some power, but it’s well within the realm of possibility. It’s not a drastic problem at altitude if the crew is paying attention (which is their frickin’ job!). Again, if it really is a problem, the one time it’s scary is an instrument approach and landing – descending toward the ground, relying on that navigational radio to keep you lined up to the runway and bring you down safely to landing. IF a piece of hardware were corrupting the navigational signals, that could be very problematic.

GWB on March 25, 2013 at 1:51 PM

I’ve never managed to get a signal at cruising altitude.

happytobehere on March 25, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Is it really that much of an inconvenience to shut your device off for a short period of time?

reddevil on March 25, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Is it really that much of an inconvenience to dispose of all your water bottles, shampoos, and manicure scissors, remove your shoes and belt, and endure a groping session followed by a prostate exam? It’s for your own safety, you know.

Archivarix on March 25, 2013 at 1:54 PM

That little cell sig is nothing compared to what the plane is pumping out.

ninjacoastie on March 25, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Look, I find it hard to believe that every cell phone is actually off on any flight carrying hundreds of passengers. People make an honest mistake and think their phone is off when it is not.

As I posted above, for me it is about not having to endure somebody chatting it up with friends or doing business on their phones for several hours- just six inches (at most) from my personal space.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Until the TSA is disbanded I will never fly anywhere in the USA.

jawkneemusic on March 25, 2013 at 1:56 PM

“Now it’s flying in the face of common sense and actual evidence.”

That’s pretty much what I have come to expect from the current administration. Lot’s of action that is based neither on common sense or evidence of understanding of whatever it is that the government is trying to regulate..

HotAirian on March 25, 2013 at 1:56 PM

I fly a LOT. I use a tablet for reading and it’s always bugged me that I have to turn off my tablet between the time the boarding door closes and when the plane reaches 10,000 feet.

flipflop on March 25, 2013 at 1:49 PM

It’s a scam to make you look at the Sky Mall and covet some useless item like the replica of Harry Potter’s wand or a baby carriage for your dog.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Turn the e-junk off and read a real book or just take a nap.

This endless addiction to electronic drivel corrupts the cortex.

And if it adds any potential for a problem to the flight, why risk it?

profitsbeard on March 25, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Nothing makes a flight go faster then a book, and some are still made out of paper.

lowandslow on March 25, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Turn the e-junk off and read a real book or just take a nap.

This endless addiction to electronic drivel corrupts the cortex.

profitsbeard on March 25, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Umm

happytobehere on March 25, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Is it really that much of an inconvenience to dispose of all your water bottles, shampoos, and manicure scissors, remove your shoes and belt, and endure a groping session followed by a prostate exam? It’s for your own safety, you know.

Archivarix on March 25, 2013 at 1:54 PM

You forgot another part of the equation. The people that get up to the conveyor belt and by the time they strip off their coat/belt/shoes/items in their pockets; put their laptop in a separate bin, throw their “carry on” luggage on the belt…… they’ve got a longer baggage train than General Sherman had in his march to the sea.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Yes, I have movies on my iPad and they are a great way to spend time inflight. Plus my music collection is good for an hour and a half. So with my bitchin’ headphone fidelity I am tuning out the cabin. Except for the drink cart, must have that booze on the way home from my business meetings.

jake49 on March 25, 2013 at 2:01 PM

People talking on cell phones speak too loudly, as if volume can overcome the technology deficiencies of the handsets and cellular technology. Also, people say the darnedest things on cellphones and should be embarrassed for themselves. Just a few weeks ago my seatmate on an Amtrak train spent nearly a half hour describing her weekend social life in great enough detail that I am glad not to be related to her. All-in-all, there is hardly anything I can think of as more annoying than someone using a cellphone in close proximity in a closed in space.

On a train one can get up and walk away from an annoying conversation. On a plane, you cannot- you are essentially trapped. If cell phone use becomes common on planes I’ll fly less.

MTF on March 25, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Buy yourself a nice pair of headphones and keep them on the entire flight, blocks out most of the worst noise. I show the flight attendant that it’s not plugged in as she makes her final check, then I insert the jack into my phone and listen to music from that point on.

My digital watch emits greater electronic noise than the player, so relax, I won’t suddenly have control of the plane.

Bishop on March 25, 2013 at 2:02 PM

I routinely use noise canceling headphones and they absolutely do not block conversations.

MTF on March 25, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Let me clarify for the folks complaining about the plane video systems and such running while they can’t play on their devices:
-First, the plane video system wiring is shielded (and seatback phones use different frequencies than your smartphone or tablet).
-Second, the real problem with today’s devices is that they actually do broadcast. Whether it’s a 11b/g/n signal or a cellphone frequency, they do broadcast a signal.

I’m not defending the policy. I am trying to dispel ignorance. Back in the bad old days, electronics used to bleed off a lot of noise. That noise could affect antennas on the aircraft (some of which are positioned just about halfway back, on the belly) which relied on sometimes very small differences in signal to provide the necessary information. Over the years, the electronics shielding has gotten better (and the electronics more solid state), and the radio equipment has become more discerning. Nowadays, the problem is the actual broadcast signal that some devices put out. I just hope they’re honest enough to stand by the policy if there really is a threat, and drop it if there isn’t.

GWB on March 25, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Turn the e-junk off and read a real book or just take a nap.

This endless addiction to electronic drivel corrupts the cortex.

profitsbeard on March 25, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Um…. an e-book is a real book. When I travel, I can read a book on my tablet but I can also check e-mail and the news when I have WiFi access. All from a device that is thin enough to easily pack. A book’s a book but “electronic drivel” is the way of the future. Join us.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Is it really that much of an inconvenience to dispose of all your water bottles, shampoos, and manicure scissors, remove your shoes and belt, and endure a groping session followed by a prostate exam? It’s for your own safety, you know.

Archivarix on March 25, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Don’t forget…you can vomit, urinate, or even defacate if necessary to put your aggressor off!

freedomfirst on March 25, 2013 at 2:06 PM

And, to reiterate: anyone who tells you it has to do with the fly-by-wire (unless they’re installing wireless versions now) is full of Biden.

GWB on March 25, 2013 at 2:08 PM

If electronic devices were really a threat to airline safety then why weren’t they the weapon of choice for terrorists? They’re extremely easy to obtain or create and can be activated without the crew’s knowledge.

Let’s face it, I’m sure that many electronic gadgets were accidentally left on by passengers during takeoffs and landings without incident. I could understand their reasoning is so that the crew could alert passengers during an emergency without any distractions.

Let’s not forget that certain iPads come with cellular connections so users will have access to the Internet at all times. If these models are to be permitted then why not mobile phones?

..remove your shoes and belt, and endure a groping session followed by a prostate exam? It’s for your own safety, you know.

You might enjoy it if you were Barney Frank.

Kingfisher on March 25, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Don’t forget…you can vomit, urinate, or even defacate if necessary to put your aggressor off!

freedomfirst on March 25, 2013 at 2:06 PM

Um, I think you’ve got your leaflets mixed up. Next thing you’ll be telling us is that in case of a rape one should put their laptop in a separate bin, remove shoes and coats, and have all liquids in a quart zip-top bag. LOL

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Turn the e-junk off and read a real book or just take a nap.

This endless addiction to electronic drivel corrupts the cortex.

And if it adds any potential for a problem to the flight, why risk it?

profitsbeard on March 25, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Common sense will get you no where in this world my friend.

reddevil on March 25, 2013 at 2:10 PM

While they’re considering to ban or not ban things. I wish the FAA would ban the wearing of shorts on flights. It’s freak’n disgusting.

lowandslow on March 25, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Look, I find it hard to believe that every cell phone is actually off on any flight carrying hundreds of passengers. People make an honest mistake and think their phone is off when it is not.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2013 at 1:54 PM

BTW, the only way to turn off your IPhone is to remove the battery. Otherwise, its still in contact with Apple and/or your service provider.

Ever seen a flight attendant check for battery removed? Me neither.

Its a bullcrap rule, based on nothing.

BobMbx on March 25, 2013 at 2:15 PM

So, what happens when planes fly over major cities? Cell phones turned off to keep the planes safe? H3ll no.

This is ridiculous. A joke.

Solar flare? No worries. We can’t regulate that.

HopeHeFails on March 25, 2013 at 2:16 PM

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Funny!
Of course, I was making reference to the notion of the TSA groping travelers. But you make an interesting point. I always enjoy your posts, Happy.

freedomfirst on March 25, 2013 at 2:18 PM

is full of Biden.

GWB on March 25, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Ha! I may steal that sometime in the future.

It would make me very pleased if they do loosen the restrictions. For one, with so many flights these days having on board wi-fi, many planes have cabins that are already pretty well shielded. Cellphones, now, that’s another question…

Oooh, and profitsbeard: I’m pretty sure my Shakespeare is just as real when it’s rendered with e-ink as it is on paper.

AndStatistics on March 25, 2013 at 2:18 PM

Common sense will get you no where in this world my friend.

reddevil on March 25, 2013 at 2:10 PM

But common sense and science say that it doesn’t present a potential problem. Frankly, I’d rather have the threat of somebody being able to use their IPad during landing than this insane new idea that it is okay to carry knives onboard again.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2013 at 2:18 PM

While they’re considering to ban or not ban things. I wish the FAA would ban the wearing of shorts on flights. It’s freak’n disgusting.

lowandslow on March 25, 2013 at 2:14 PM

I think the FAA and TSA should team up and require all persons on commercial flights to be completely nude, and ride standing up.

Like a nudist camp shuttle bus. Never heard of one of them being hijacked.

BobMbx on March 25, 2013 at 2:19 PM

This endless addiction to electronic drivel corrupts the cortex.

profitsbeard on March 25, 2013 at 1:57 PM

After reading through this thread I think you may be on to something.

happytobehere on March 25, 2013 at 2:21 PM

A book’s a book but “electronic drivel” is the way of the future. Join us.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2013 at 2:05 PM

I mean for the few hours of a flight.

You can resume contact with the electronic Id when back on the ground.

This Third Cortex (instant access to the global e-mind repository) is becoming “indispensable”, which will breed its own problems in the future.

How will you know what Lloyd Bridges’ shoe size was or whether “The Processional” piece is in C or D by Johann Fux unless you can log on!?!?

profitsbeard on March 25, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Um…. an e-book is a real book. When I travel, I can read a book on my tablet but I can also check e-mail and the news when I have WiFi access. All from a device that is thin enough to easily pack. A book’s a book but “electronic drivel” is the way of the future. Join us.

[Happy Nomad on March 25, 2013 at 2:05 PM]

Yeah, there were times my computer was down so I took my gold leafed edition of Moby Dick out of my book case and used that to retrieve my email until Time Warner fixed the problem at the poll.

Quit abusing the language.

Dusty on March 25, 2013 at 2:25 PM

poll = pole

Ugh.

Dusty on March 25, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Give me the cell phone talker any day, if only there were a way to keep the dude in front of me from gassing the entire flight, or the other dude sitting next to my son who picked his nose every 30 seconds.

Bishop on March 25, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Why are you letting a stranger pick your sons nose.

RickB on March 25, 2013 at 2:30 PM

But common sense and science say that it doesn’t present a potential problem. Frankly, I’d rather have the threat of somebody being able to use their IPad during landing than this insane new idea that it is okay to carry knives onboard again.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2013 at 2:18 PM

And I don’t necessarily disagree with the change. I just don’t see the absolute world ending need to make the change just to make a change.

Same goes with the knife deal. Somebody came up with a rule, happy to follow it; can’t see the absolute need to change it.

reddevil on March 25, 2013 at 2:35 PM

I just don’t see the absolute world ending need to make the change just to make a change.

Same goes with the knife deal. Somebody came up with a rule, happy to follow it; can’t see the absolute need to change it.

reddevil on March 25, 2013 at 2:35 PM

We clearly have a different view on this stuff. I don’t think there should be a rule without a good reason. You, apparently think (and I’m not trying to put words in your mouth) that rules once made should be slow to change.

I traveled through Germany recently and, guess what, the security was good enough that people didn’t have to remove their shoes. The only ones that did were Americans. I honestly think that this is one of those rules that should change here as well.

Bottom line for me- We subject air travelers to many meaningless rules and regulations. Some of which are designed for no reason other than to keep the unionized TSA employees in jobs.

Some of what I would consider a common sense approach to air safety.

Profile the hell out of passengers. That 80-year-old grandma is probably less of a threat than that 22-year-old Muslim with a one-way ticket and no luggage. Don’t treat them the same!

Severely limit carry on baggage to streamline screening at the terminals.

Fire the so-called TSA screeners and hire professionals. If you are going to screen for threats it probably should be by somebody with real training and not a guy with GED, a half-day training session, and an uncle in the union.

Focus on all aspects of security around the planes- not just the passengers.

And did I mention profiling the hell out of travelers?

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2013 at 2:53 PM

I think the FAA and TSA should team up and require all persons on commercial flights to be completely nude, and ride standing up.

Like a nudist camp shuttle bus. Never heard of one of them being hijacked.

BobMbx on March 25, 2013 at 2:19 PM

How about a simple checkin process where you simply have to spit in a coran?

Faster and more effective than what we have now.

slickwillie2001 on March 25, 2013 at 3:01 PM

When you’re five miles above the earth it’s nice to know the cabin crew and passengers won’t be deprived of their Angry Birds. Priorities, doncha know.

whatcat on March 25, 2013 at 3:03 PM

We clearly have a different view on this stuff. I don’t think there should be a rule without a good reason. You, apparently think (and I’m not trying to put words in your mouth) that rules once made should be slow to change.

I would say that unless I can find that a rule is overly obtrusive, why is there a need to change it. I guess I’m one of those who can live without an electronic device for a while and don’t see the absolute rush by a vast majority of people to change it. I see small groups of people in meetings thinking that and what group they can pander to.

I will say this in regards to the TSA: I think the primary problem that they exist in the first place is because of the absolute guarantees that Americans expect about everything (see lawyers). Too many people want no intrusions at all going thru security and then a guarantee nothing will happen to the plane they are on. I’m OK with limited Security (a ton of profiling and not of grandmas and kids in wheelchairs) and no expectation that nothing bad can’t happen when I’m in the air.

reddevil on March 25, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Give me the cell phone talker any day, if only there were a way to keep the dude in front of me from gassing the entire flight, or the other dude sitting next to my son who picked his nose every 30 seconds.

Bishop on March 25, 2013 at 1:42 PM

I have (or had..I don’t fly any more) solution I’ve used with success:

When you finally grow tired of the gold-digger sitting next to you, simply flag down the flight attendant, and ask in your AIRPLANE VOICE…”Excuse me…do you have a Kleenex? My friend here has something stuck in his nose and he can’t get it out….”

Works.Every.Time.

BobMbx on March 25, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Cell phones are distractions during the safety demonstrations plus they’re extremely annoying to fellow passengers, hence their restrictions.

JetBlast on March 25, 2013 at 1:36 PM

Well, that…and that the airlines aren’t making any money from their $5/minute in-flight phones. (Somehow, those don’t interfere with the plane’s electronics. Funny, that.)

Solaratov on March 25, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Maybe we should be forcing some zero-based regulatory cycles as well.

I second that. Every law should have a sunset provision of five years or less.

petefrt on March 25, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Tablet bans on airplanes are supported by the same people who believe in man made global warming.

petefrt on March 25, 2013 at 3:43 PM

…this insane new idea that it is okay to carry knives onboard again.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2013 at 2:18 PM

I remember a time when we used to carry guns on board an airplane, and nobody batted an eye.

Solaratov on March 25, 2013 at 3:47 PM

A Constitutional Amendment should be passed that states that all federal laws have an implicit sunset provision of 10 years unless it passes each house of Congress by at least 60%. It would also stipulate that all federal regulations would sunset after 10 years, regardless of the margin of passage of the underlying law. The effect of this Amendment would be a greatly diminished the number of zombie like federal regulations that never die, regardless of their cost, efficacy or unintended consequences. Each sub 60% law would have to be re-authorized each decade.

What we can learn from Thomas Jefferson and Star Trek… a recipe for limited government

imperfectamerica on March 25, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Your understanding of science is different than mine. You are using LOGIC not science to debunk this. Here is the SCIENCE I’ve read: as of 2 years ago ALL of the scientific test showed that phones and tablets interfered with electrical systems on airplanes. That was the conclusion of the 5 tests I read. Maybe it has changed in the last two years. If you use a little google-foo you can even read which phones/tablets are the most offensive to the electrical systems. Unfortunately they are often the most “prized” ones too.

Annnndddd…. you’re gonna ask why then are planes not falling from the sky on a regular basis. Again .. logic not science. Logic is a tool of science, but it is not science.

I fly all the time. And I use electronic devices while they are flying. So. Science says kids don’t get hyper from eating too many sugary things. You buying that one or do you actually have kids?

Passionate defenses for your favorite electronic device is meaningless in this case. Your love for your iPoddy is not science. Deal with it.

Bear on March 25, 2013 at 5:06 PM

I know United is now putting wi-fi internet in most of their big planes. It connects to satellites and not a ground point. It will cost you money to stay connected on the internet, but some people are quite happy to pay the price. It is nominal and if you have work to do it’s just great. That includes tablets and laptops. Still nothing about phones.

As many have said before, I won’t fly until TSA is made impossible. I don’t care if I can ‘connect’ up in the sky.

BetseyRoss on March 25, 2013 at 5:13 PM

ipads and phones have been used for years by private aircraft for navigation. Mostly below 10,000ft. They use the same com and nav gear as the airliners and cause no interference. Frequencies are widely separated.

You can see what is available here.

http://www.sportys.com/PilotShop

CW20 on March 25, 2013 at 5:36 PM

This coincides with the current national aggrandizement of “information gathering”.

No, no way. That will “never happen here”.

John Kettlewell on March 25, 2013 at 6:51 PM

It’s not one or two phones that will cause an issue, but that’s typically what they test. The danger is the possibility of a hundred or more (737s carry ~180; 767/777 – 300+) all transmitting inside an elongated, metal-skinned fuselage. What you have the potential to end up with is akin to a traveling wave tube.

Roc on March 25, 2013 at 9:23 PM