Is it OK to Use Your Phone on a Plane?
Good news for folks who can't put down Candy Crush while flying on a plane.
Travelers now have more reason to avoid awkward conversations with the stranger seated next to them. We can all just stare at our screens instead. The Federal Aviation Administration has allowed the use of smartphones, tablets and other personal electronics during nearly the entire duration of their flights.
Buckling to the demands of an increasingly tech-savvy population, the agency announced in a release that "passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions."
Previously, fliers had to switch off all gizmos before a plane could take off and were only allowed to turn it back on above 10,000 feet. Also, as the plane descended to land, they had to be shut off again. Anyone who's had to stop in the middle of a page and toggle off their Kindle knows this ban was annoying, so e-readers can finally rejoice!
However, the FAA hasn't totally relaxed all aspects of gadget use. Passengers are still prohibited to talk on cell phones in the air. Also, if a plane offers internet, service will still be banned under 10,000 feet. It's also recommended that you keep your phone in airplane mode. Personally, I think keeping your phone off is better for battery life anyway -- you don't want to arrive to your destination with a dead phone.
The old, ill-conceived FAA guidelines started in 1991 when no one really knew what cell phones could actually do. However, as someone who accidentally left her phone on for the entirety of a 18-hour flight to Hong Kong can assure, cell phones just aren't strong enough to affect an entire plane's electronics systems. And I'm not alone. According to a recent study, nearly 30 percent of American fliers have accidentally left a device on during takeoff or landing at least once during the past year.
Do you think these new guidelines are necessary?