By Ken Hegan for MSN
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is planning to change their electronic devices policy that currently prevents you from using iPads or Kindles during takeoffs and landings. Instead of turning them off, you’ll soon be asked to switch them to Airplane Mode.
According to anonymous sources in the New York Times, “the agency hopes to announce by the end of this year that it will relax the rules for reading devices during takeoff and landing. The change would not include cellphones.”
The Times points out that travellers are currently told to shut off our iPads and Kindles for takeoff, “yet there is no proof that these devices affect a plane’s avionics. To add to the confusion, the F.A.A. permits passengers to use electric razors and audio recorders during all phases of flight, even though those give off more electronic emissions than reading tablets.”
The FAA has no official comment on the matter — not yet — but those same wise anonymous sources claim the agency is “under tremendous pressure to let people use reading devices on planes, or to provide solid scientific evidence why they cannot.” Plus the Times discovered the FAA “now allows iPads as flight manuals in the cockpit and has subsequently given out devices to some flight attendants with information on flight procedures.”
You read that right…pilots and flight crew can play with their iPads but not Joe & Jane Sixpack back in coach. To paraphrase Animal Farm, it’s like “all travellers are equal, but some travellers are more equal than others.”
The FCC, pilot unions, and travel agencies have all urged the FAA to change this annoying rule. And think of the unexpected pluses! Flight attendants won’t be required to tell hotheaded Alec Baldwin to stop playing Words With Friends, so he won’t blow a gasket and get kicked off the plane.
In the months ahead, keep a lookout for this welcome rule change.
Meanwhile, I think the FAA should ban other things during takeoff and landing. Here are:
FIVE THINGS THE FAA SHOULD BAN DURING TAKEOFF
5) Crying babies
Plug ’em our lose ’em.
4) People who ask where I’m going
“Why? So you can mug me? Mind your beeswax, granny.”
3) Leg spreaders (inevitably men) who jam their knees into your legs
Whistlers are as self-absorbed and obnoxious as that bearded dude who rides a unicycle.
1) This dude’s nasty dandruff
— Ken Hegan
Read more of Ken’s travel stories here
Photo of tablet: AP Photo/Gero Breloer