For almost two decades, airline passengers have heard that same announcement, "All electronic devices should now be turned off and stowed as they may interfere with the aircraft's navigational and communications systems."
Well, it's all been lies! All of it!
The Federal Aviation Administration announced on October 31 that beginning soon, we won't have to turn off our electronic devices during takeoff and landing. This certainly is good news for some, but those of us who used those 10 minutes as an excuse to read the tabloids we picked up in the airport bookstore are going to have to find a new reason to justify buying US Weekly and In Touch.
Although electronic devices will be allowed, they will still need to operate in airplane mode, which means passengers still can't use their mobile phones to make calls. Wi-Fi will also remain unavailable until the plane has cleared 10,000 feet.
The rule has long been criticized as being overly cautious. As the Chicago Tribune points out, commercial airline pilots often use iPads in the cockpit for navigation. But, as any frequent traveler will tell you, the rule has also led to some pretty ridiculous interactions between flight attendants and stubborn flyers who refuse to power down.
The official FAA press release said the rule would be implemented "by the end of the year."