Flight Attendants Seek to Reinstate Ban on Electronic Devices During Takeoff and Landing

By Paul Riegler on 14 October 2014
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DSC_0064While passengers across the nation have been relishing the ability to use their personal electronic devices from the moment they get on the plane, and through taxi, takeoff, and landing, a flight attendants union isn’t fully on board.

The 60,000-member Association of Flight Attendants is seeking to roll back the rule and a lawyer representing the group argued in court that the change in policy should never have taken place, and further that officials at the Federal Aviation Administration acted improperly in changing the rule.

The AFA maintains that the use of such devices can both distract passengers from important safety announcements and also could inadvertently become dangerous projectiles.  It further maintains that the FAA amended the regulation without steps required by law.

The FAA announced the change in rules on November 1, 2013, and airlines implemented the change one by one.  Passengers can now use small, hand-held devices such as smartphones and tablets, at any point during the flight unless instructed otherwise by a crewmember.  Larger devices such as laptops must be stowed during takeoff and landing.

In hearing the union’s arguments, the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals that was hearing the case showed skepticism, noting that books, which have been allowed during takeoffs and landings since the advent of flying, could be equally dangerous.

The court will rule on the issue at a later time.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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