FAA to (Maybe) Rethink Tech Ban on Planes

phone for flyingI have traveled quite a bit over the course of my (relatively short) existence on this planet. Spending so much time in the airport, I have heard all manner of complaints about air travel. From the size of the seats to the quality of the food, airplanes bring out the whiner in each and every one of us.

The Worst Thing about Air Travel

Of all the things worth complaining about vis-à-vis airline travel, one of the most common is the fact that airlines require you to power down all electronics during takeoff and landing, and only permit the use of certain electronics when the plane has reached cruising altitude.

Though this rule has existed since the dawn of time (or air travel), it is a major source of frustration for many travelers. In fact, many frequent fliers freely admit to refusing to power down, regardless of the frequent requests to do so. I had always assumed that these people were just impatient jerks who could not stand to be disconnected from Words with Friends for more than a few hours. Apparently, I was wrong about that.

Though the ban on electronics may just seem like a nuisance, DePaul University has concluded that it actually results in millions of hours of lost productivity each and every year. Fear not, however, there may be an end in sight to this pointless waste of the American worker’s travel time!

A Change is Going to Come (We Hope)

Good news for travelers everywhere! After years of petitioning from the FCC and other groups, the FAA may finally be reversing its ban on portable electronics during all portions of the flight. Of course, the new rules will not allow a free-for-all on all electronics during takeoff and landing, but it is certainly a start.

Here is what you can expect on flights with the new rules:

  • You will be able to read eBooks, listen to music or podcasts, watch videos or play single player games during takeoff and landing (and all throughout the flight).
  • You will be able to browse the internet and send and receive emails during flights that have wi-fi.
  • You will not be able to do anything on flights that do not have reliable wi-fi (which, in my humble opinion, is all of them).

So, if you are a frequent flyer who wants to reclaim your millions of hours of lost productivity, you may be in luck! If you are like the rest of us, who do not mind an opportunity to ignore email communication, you are probably still in luck, because what flight’s wi-fi actually works?

Do you care if you can’t answer or send emails during flights, or is it a non-issue for you?

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A teacher by trade, Elizabeth LaBelle graduated with honors from the University of Michigan in 2011. After specializing in Political Science and Francophone Studies with a minor in Korean, the only tangible skill she can show for it is the ability to write in all three languages. Elizabeth never thought she would get paid to write in any language – but after four years washing dishes in an industrial kitchen and a year selling office supplies door-to-door, nothing surprises her. When she’s not writing or teaching, Elizabeth coaches high school debate and forensics. Her hobbies include thoroughbred racing, competitive pool playing and hunting for the perfect Chicago apartment.

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