The news. Could the golden age of using electronics on flights be facing an emergency landing?
It might happen, if the nation's largest flight attendant union has its way. Nearly a year after the FAA eased rules that permitted flyers to use their Kindles, iPhones and other small electronics during takeoff and landing, some flight attendants are still steaming mad about it.
Lawyers representing the Association of Flight Attendants told a court Friday that it wants to overturn the FAA's rules for a bizarre reason. The union claims the electronics could become "dangerous projectiles" if the plane hits turbulence; they also distract passengers from listening to their pre-flight safety announcements.
That's become a problem, per union lawyer Amanda Dure. She told the judges that "anyone who has been on a plane in the last year has seen a huge change," not for the better, when it comes to a passenger's attention span.
The Associated Press also reports that the FAA overstepped its boundaries by changing the regulation without taking the proper steps required by law. The union is angry with the agency for failing to properly provide public notice and receive comments on the rule change, which the FAA denies.
Will it happen? Thankfully for passengers, it's unlikely. It's now up to the airlines if they want to change the rules, but after experiencing a rare spike in customer goodwill following last year's decision, they're going to stick with it.
"Airlines have always had discretion on how to handle this," said judge Harry T. Edwards. The court will issue a written ruling later this year.
As for the union's argument that the small electronics could become flying weapons? According to government lawyer Jeffrey Sandberg, they "are no more dangerous than books that passengers have been allowed to keep out."
h/t The Guardian