Anyone who finds themselves strapped in an airplane on a regular basis knows that "chime" all too well. It's the sound of hitting 10,000 feet on the way up (liberating) and the sound of hitting 10,000 feet on the way down (depressing). Kidding aside, this arbitrary measure has somehow forced modern passengers to hold tight on booting up their tablets, phones, MP3 players and laptops... and for what reason? The myth of cellular radios screwing with a plane's GPS system has been busted time and time again, yet still, the runway is seemingly no place for a notebook. Oddly, it's okay to read a 50lb. copy of War and Peace while taking off, but you can't read the same novel on a near-weightless Kindle. We've heard that the rule exists so that these devices don't go flying if the take-off or landing is a little turbulent, but we'd rather take a Kindle
to the face than a hardback novel.
And finally, finally, the FAA may be seeing the light as well
. The New York Times has a report out suggesting that waves of change could be building, as the Federal Aviation Administration is considering a rule that would relax the rules for reading devices during take-off and landing. Sadly, the rule would not include cellphones, but hey -- baby steps.
What's strange is that the report is a bit unclear on tablets. Is an iPad
a "reading device?" Who makes the call? Can you imagine the passenger confusion? An outright rejection of the existing rule would likely suit consumers best, but that's unlikely to happen. At any rate, it seems we're slowly moving in the right direction. On scheduled flights that take-off on time, waiting for 10,000 feet is no big deal, but when you're stuck on the runway for 1+ hours at JFK, having the ability to get a bit of work done would really be a boon.