FAA nears new rules on electronic devices during flights

  • Article by: JAD MOUAWAD and NICK BILTON , New York Times
  • Updated: September 23, 2013 - 4:35 PM

This week, an FAA advisory panel will meet to complete its recommendations to relax most of the restrictions on using electronic devices during air travel. It's a cultural milestone of sorts.

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kydotySep. 23, 1311:06 AM

Here's how safe commercial travel in the US is: Between 9/11 and the Asiana Airlines crash on July 6th of this year, exactly zero people died in airline travel. That's nearly 12 straight years of zero fatalities involving thousands of planes and millions of passengers per day. Where else are you going to find that kind of safety record involving travel in the US?

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gopher68Sep. 23, 1311:22 AM

kydoty, there actually have been a few fatal airline crashes in the US since 9/11 -- an American Airlines A300 crashed in NY in November 2001 and I can think of a few of commuter aircraft accidents. But that doesn't take away from your point about how incredibly safe commercial air travel has become, especially in the US. It's nice that we've gotten to the point that the US air safety debate is moving down to issues as inconsequential as this.

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creepycatzSep. 23, 1311:40 AM

I'm dependent on my electronic devices as much as anyone but really; how hard is it to power down for a few minutes? The takeoffs and landings are the very best part of the flights so sit back and enjoy them!

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meredithkarlSep. 23, 1311:55 AM

I am eager to see that the FAA is recognizing that my cell phone will not take down a jumbo jet.

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donotbugmeSep. 23, 1311:55 AM

This will be implemented as soon as the airlines find a way to charge for it while allowing free access for their elite level customers.

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ZombiehunterSep. 23, 1312:02 PM

"The takeoffs and landings are the very best part of the flights so sit back and enjoy them!"

I don't know about you, but for me the best part of the flight is getting off the sardine can they call airplanes these days. These days flying is more like an endurance contest than a luxurious way to travel.

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ZombiehunterSep. 23, 1312:08 PM

Cell phones haven't and can't take down an airline. If they could, you bet every terrorist in the world would simply fill their pockets with cell phones and turn them all on when the plane reached 10,000 feet.

All this amounts to is collusion between the airlines, who want to charge you for wifi service, and cell phone companies, who have a hard time tracking your call as your plane flies through the range of several cell phone towers simultaneously. The article even admits that the best scientific evidence they can come up with is a 20 year old study that says a few devices interfered under certain special conditions.

Seriously. 1993 called and said they want their cell phone back. I think you can find a model that old in a museum somewhere.

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msfb99Sep. 23, 1312:13 PM

Seriously... you can't sit quietly without your electronics for 15 minutes while the plane takes off? I mean "Airlines and pilots have reported hundreds of instances over the years where they suspect electronic devices caused some cockpit instruments to malfunction." seems reason enough to keep the current rules. Relax and take a break in your day.

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ZombiehunterSep. 23, 1312:37 PM

Personally, I would prefer to use science to nail down the issue rather than "some pilot suspects." "I suspect goats caused an issue with the plane's electronics" has just as much validity.

I agree though that people can just turn their cell phones off for a few minutes, although that goes for cars, walking, and biking as well as planes. Try interacting with live people for a while instead of your Facebook page.

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rdkj123Sep. 23, 13 1:18 PM

For those of you claiming it is only a few minutes that the devices have to off, have you even flown on an airplane lately? You need to power down before you even push back from the gate. After waiting your turn for take-off and reaching 10,000 ft and then once again going below 10,000 ft and waiting your turn to land it is closer to 40 minutes to an hour! I have honestly read most of the articles in the lame in flight magazine during the time my device has to be off, which is basically my only option besides staring at the back on the seat in front of me unless I bring something in print to read - which as a tablet owner I generally don't even possess. I know the lifted restrictions will be most welcomed by all of us accustomed to the 21st century norms outside of the hull of an airplane.

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