October 2, 2013

Electronics on a Plane


Maggie: Alright. Scott is here with me now to talk about some of the new rules that are being considered on airplanes.

Scott: Now, you know that pre-flight speech: ‘Buckle your seatbelts and make sure your seatbacks and tray tables are in their upright and locked positions, and make sure all of your electronics are off.’ Well, that last part might be changing soon.

Teen: I have always got my iPhone with me. At least I’ve got a Kindle.

Teen: My laptop, my cellphone.

Teen: My iPod Touch and my cellphone.

Scott: Most passengers pack multiple electronic devices in their carryon luggage – all of which need to be powered off prior to takeoff and landing. But that is about to change.

An advisory panel to the Federal Aviation Administration is recommending that passengers be allowed to use their e-readers, listen to podcasts, watch videos and play games during takeoff and landing. The new policy could take effect as soon as 2014.

Aviation experts say that in an era of inflight Wi-Fi service, the FAA had to concede that there is no hard data supporting the theory that electronic devices interfere with flight instruments.

Mary Schiavo: The most logical reason for lifting the ban is everyone else is using them. They’re on private planes. They’re everywhere. They’re at the airport. As soon as that plane touches down, you can turn them on again. So, obviously, it doesn’t interfere with communications at or near the airport. There just was no evidence.

Scott: Today’s aircrafts are also well protected.

Schiavo: They’re all shielded – not only shielded against errant radio telecommunication signals – and by the way, they operate on dedicated frequencies and dedicated lines –those aircraft are shielded against lightning strikes.

Scott: You still won’t be able to place calls throughout the flight, and the ban on texting, emailing, and using Wi-Fi during departure and arrival will remain intact as well.

Now, the FAA still has to approve the panel’s recommendations, but they are expected to do so.


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