The days of turning off your electronic devices before an airplane takes off may be over, but America’s flight attendants are looking to reinstate at least some of those rules. The Association of Flight Attendants, a union representing 60,000 people, argued its case recently in court. The Associated Press suggests that the AFA’s arguments may not make much of a difference.
The union’s main argument against using personal electronics during takeoff and landing is that they can distract from important safety announcements. A lawyer representing the group also noted that smartphones and other gadgets can easily become dangerous projectiles in the wrong hands or during an emergency. The best case flight attendants may have, however, is that the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to change the rules for flight was approved too quickly without moving through the necessary approval process.
Even so, most people probably won’t be willing to give up their smartphones now that they know using a device in airplane mode during takeoff doesn’t have any affect on the actual plane. The judges at the hearing seemed to echo that sentiment, but noted that at the end of the day it’s up to individual airlines to make the final decision. There’s no word on exactly when the court will issue an official ruling.
Personally, we don’t see the big deal. After all, we’ve all heard those safety instructions before, and it’s not like you can’t distract yourself just as easily with a magazine. The bigger issue for us is in-flight calls, which are really more annoying than they are dangerous. Thankfully, Congress is already pushing to ban phone calls from airplanes.