Turn Off All Electronic Devices? Suppose We Turned Off the Feds Instead
On Aug. 31, the Federal Aviation Administration requested public comment on its longstanding policy of prohibiting the use of personal electronics during takeoffs and landings. The restrictions date back to 1991 and were motivated in part by anecdotal reports from pilots and flight crews that electronic devices affected an airliner's navigation equipment or disrupted communication between the cockpit and the ground. Over the years, however, Boeing has been unable to duplicate these problems, and the FAA can only say that the devices' radio signals "may" interfere with flight operations.
The requirement that we all turn off our electronic devices to quit texting or playing games or listening to iTunes--or, still more to the point, enjoying the latest Ricochet podcast--accounts for a large component of the growing unpleasantness of airplane travel. Some flight attendants take to it only too naturally, but even those who seem vaguely embarrassed by the entire exercise find themselves forced to stroll up and down the aisle before every takeoff and landings, acting like Nurse Ratchett. Why put them through it? Why put us through it?
Now we know. For no good reason.
There is no serious evidence whatever that electronic devices interfere with navigational gear. The FAA knows it. Boeing knows it. And we've always sensed it ourselves, haven't we? But for more than two decades federal regulators have forced us all to go through this mad charade every time we fly.
Paul Ryan, once you get elected, you'll discover that a Vice President doesn't actually have all that much to do. With time on your hands, could you get this stupid regulation repealed? Please?