Electronic devices on aeroplanes: a good thing? Open thread

All air travellers know the drill. Boarding has been completed, and the faff of the pre-takeoff routine is about to begin, which means all electronic devices must be switched off. Time for a last text or instant message, heartfelt or flippant. Ten seconds to digest one last sentence on your e-book.

No longer, if you’re travelling in the US. Following a ruling by the Federal Aviation Administration, passengers will be able to use ebooks, tablets and portable video games “during all phases of flight.” Delta Airlines announced a relaxation of their own in-flight rules within minutes. Europe’s aviation authorities are expected to follow this lead “within months”.

For years, the official pronouncements of what electronic devices you can and cannot use – and for what reason – have been, if not a scourge of air travel, then at least a source of irritation.

For a nervous flyer (and I count myself in this category), the vague fears that opening one’s laptop might, due to some mysterious interference, lead to the plane hurtling to earth is enough reason to stick to paperbacks for the duration of the flight. Other, more switched-on souls, may now be wondering if their airbound gadget useage was being curtailed for decidedly nebulous reasons.

Are you relieved that the rules are now being relaxed, and do you have any stories of being prevented from using your electronic equipment? Or, like me, are you happier for flights to be a gadget-free zone? Share your stories, and your views, in the open thread below.

  • Gadgets
  • Air transport
  • Smartphones
  • Tablet computers
  • Internet
  • Mobile phones
  • Airline industry

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