United Airlines and American Airlines announced that its passengers no longer have to switch off their mobile devices during takeoff and landing.
The FAA officially loosened its rules on October 31st 2013 after facing pressure from passengers, politicians, and the press to update its antiquated regulations. The regulations were initially implemented decades ago — electronics had to stay off while planes traveled under 10,000 feet to avoid wireless signals interfering with the plane’s navigational tech.
While airlines and the FAA have long feared that tablets and e-readers interfere with in-flight systems, there’s no real proof that such interference exists.
The FAA left it up to the airlines whether or not to take advantage of the newly-eased standards. Jet Blue and Delta modified their policies right away, with United and AA not too far behind.
The battle between flight attendants policing the aisles for signs of illuminated screens, and bored passengers who a) don’t really believe their phone could mess with the plane’s navigational system and b) are bored may finally be coming to an end.
The same FAA panel also decided last month that Wi-Fi is safe to use throughout an entire flight. Like handheld electronics, planes could only turn their Wi-Fi systems on after reaching 10,000 feet.
Slowly but surely these draconian rules are adapting to modern times. People already have to deal with enough crap when they fly — long lines, taking off their shoes, having their $30 tub of dead sea mineral face cream unceremoniously thrown out by a 200 pound security agent. Airlines don’t even feed us proper meals anymore.
The least they can do is let us play dots.