Americans are losing out on 105 million hours of digital time when they have to turn off their iPads and smartphones during takeoff and landing, according to a new study by DePaul University. Current rules say that anything with an on/off switch must be turned off when the plane is below 10,000 feet. The FAA has considered lifting that ban but has yet to change the rule.
The same study estimates that 35% of travelers use gadgets like electronic tablets and smartphones at some point in a flight, up from 28% in 2012 and 17.6% in 2010. Passengers may just be playing Words With Friends but the ban is still costing them valuable digital time.
Is it really dangerous to use electronic devices during takeoff and landing? Why is it taking the FAA so long to reconsider its ban on electronic devices? If the FAA gives the green light to electronic devices, will cellphones be far behind? As an airline passenger, do you want to be able to use your phone or will the thought of your seatmate chatting away on the phone make you want to keep the ban?
Patrick Smith, former commercial airline pilot and columnist. He has a new book out called "cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel"