Ovation: GameBoys Don’t Bring Down Boeings After All.
Try as I might, I’ve never warmed up to e-reading. When electronic books first became available, I purchased a generic Kindle, an inexpensive version of the device developed and marketed by online bookseller Amazon.com, but I just didn’t enjoy it. I couldn’t get used to the fact that there were no pages to turn and no reference point as to how far along in the book I had progressed or how much more there was left for me to enjoy. Additionally, I found it difficult to see outdoors or in dimly lit rooms. Plus, my new device was actually forbidden in one of my favorite places to read … on an airplane.
As anyone familiar with air travel knows, there is a lot of waiting involved and reading is a natural and convenient way to pass any extra time that might arise. The convenience of electronic books allows travelers with tablets to carry one less item on their journey while still enjoying the latest novel, their favorite magazine or local newspaper. Until, of course, they are actually seated on an airplane and the pilot turns on the “fasten seat-belts” sign. For years, this was the time when all electronic devices must be “stowed” until further notice. This is also the time that anyone who wants to read on a plane wants to read on a plane. Some of the longest waits, and most opportune times to read, take place when an aircraft is taxiing on a runway. Soon, passengers with e-readers won’t have to spend this time reading SkyMall and in-flight safety cards.
The FAA has announced that their almost fifty-year-old regulation concerning the use of electronic devices during takeoff and landing will soon be revoked. Tablets, e-readers, dvd players and video game consoles will be allowed during these important portions of flights. While cell phone calls and texting will remain banned, passengers will be allowed to play games, read e-books and possibly use other features as long as the device is in “airplane mode”. WiFi will be allowed as long as the flight has an installed system and allows its use.
Although there are no confirmed reports of passenger devices interfering with flight navigation devices, safety standards have always required that they be turned off when planes are below 10,000 feet to avoid electronic interference with cockpit equipment during takeoff and landing. A report last month made by a twenty-eight member advisory committee finally concluded that most commercial airplanes can tolerate radio interference signals from personal electronic devices.
The transmission of any kind of signal will remain banned during these portions of all flights. So, while passengers will be allowed to use iPads or read e-books, for example, they will not be able to use them to transmit e-mail. This could present a problem for flight attendants who will undoubtedly become responsible for policing passengers who break the new rules.
I, for one, am very pleased to learn that a personal electronic device like a Nintendo GameBoy can’t bring down a Boeing 747 after all. I might even give e-reading another try.
Will you read an e-book on an airplane once the new rule is in place?
Like this post? Follow the blog and get involved in discussions! Find “Follow via Email” on the right side of the page and click “Follow.” Buttons for Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook are there, too!