Horrific violations of human rights may still go on unchecked the world over, but one of them has finally been addressed by the Federal Aviation Administration. At long last, the FAA will permit airlines to allow passengers to use electronic devices during takeoff and landing, presumably because they discovered a way to ensure that your attempt to Wonder Trade that Froakie you just captured in Pokemon X doesn’t accidentally bring 747s crashing from the sky.
For many travelers, the ban has been a longstanding annoyance, but an accepted part of the air travel experience. Since the advent of popular cell phone usage in the early 1990s, the FAA and airlines have had a uniform ban on using electronic devices during takeoff and landing in spite of no direct evidence that they would interfere with the plane’s systems. The ban persisted even after the FAA hired an external safety firm to conduct a study – which found no conclusive evidence of danger. It continued… until today.
Per the FAA’s announcement, airlines will have to provide tangible proof that electronic devices are safe to use on their planes on a gate-to-gate basis, but the agency fully expects that all carriers will receive the stamp of approval by year’s end. Handheld gaming consoles, tablet devices, e-book readers, and mobile phones will all be permitted during takeoff and landing, but the FAA recommends that you still put the devices on airplane mode. In truth, you might not get a signal up there anyway, so the FAA and your battery life will thank you in the long run.
Unfortunately, laptops still must be stowed during the takeoff and landing process, but that’s because of their potential to be transformed into Excel Spreadsheet-wielding plastic-and-aluminum torpedoes in the event of an emergency. Hopefully, Liam Neeson will be able to shed some much needed light on the feasibility of this argument later this year, but until then you can stop pretending to turn everything else off.