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Ovation: GameBoys Don’t Bring Down Boeings After All.


iPadTry 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, 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?

UPDATE 11/22/13: FCC To Consider Allowing Cellphone Use Above 10,000 Feet.


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Copyright © 2013

From → Ovations

  1. Oops. I have read my ebook on a plane in flight. You were allowed to once they said it was ok, right. So glad I didn’t accidentally become a mass murderer (or a suicide-booker …)


  2. I do a lot of reading online for business and news, but prefer the old books and newspapers. Reading print is more relaxing to me and makes me read more intently.


  3. Absolutely.


  4. Umm, no! No Ereaders! Ban them all, only books are allowed! 🙂


  5. Ever since I got an iPad, I haven’t bought a real book. I only do eBooks– they’re convenient, I can buy them from my couch, I can store 100’s on one device, and the best part is they don’t create all the waste that the manufacture and transportation of real books do.


  6. I hate to fly so any distraction is always very welcome. I love my e-reader because I can store a lot of books on it & it doesn’t get any heavier in my suitcase. That way if the book I thought I wanted to read on vacation turns out to be a dud, I’ll have another book to go to.


    • I let all of my magazine subscriptions lapse many years ago since everything in each issue was old news by the time it reached my mailbox. I read everything online or on a tablet now.


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