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And now, For Your In-Flight Entertainment…

October 31, 2013
Passengers will now be allowed to use their personal electronic devices for the entirety of a flight. (Photo courtesy: Southwest Airlines)

Passengers will now be allowed to use their personal electronic devices for the entirety of a flight. Photo courtesy: Southwest Airlines

After research into a widely discussed topic in air travel, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) offered a treat to airline passengers on Halloween.

The FAA announced on Thursday that it has determined that it is safe for passengers to use electronic devices during all phases of a flight, and not just above the 10,000 foot threshold. The agency will allow any electronic device to be operated for the entirety of any flight, but still will not allow the use of cell phones outside of airplane mode. This announcement comes after the FAA consulted with multiple industry sources and examined the harmless nature of using such electronics. A new list of information was published by the FAA about what exactly a portable electronic device is and how it should be used on an aircraft.

The decision to allow these PEDs (not to be confused with Performance Enhancing Drugs) is gaining lots of respect from the airline industry. Flight attendants were also encouraged by the announcement, but were hoping that the approval of these electronics will not distract airline passengers from necessary safety regulations onboard the plane. Shortly after the FAA’s announcement, both Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways were the first commercial carriers to support and allow the use of these devices on their flights. The use of these devices will be decided upon on an airline-to-airline basis.

Aside from being somewhat of a closet aviation junkie, I was drawn to this story because of the coverage offered by CNN. Not only did it provide a story outlining the basic parameters, but it also gave lots of more information about air travel to its readers. CNN had a photo gallery of things to do in order to make traveling more pleasurable. However, there were many other links to similar stories about air travel which really provided a complete story for the readers. It shows the discussions and arguments  leading up to Thursday’s decision. It also links to a separate story which questions if using your cell phone could really interfere with or cause a plane to crash.

Having taken a brief, cross-country flight within the last few weeks, I was very intrigued by this news. One other story on CNN caught my attention after my experience. In mid-flight, I powered up my cell phone after 10,000 feet only to notice that I hadn’t enabled airplane mode before we departed. My cell phone was searching for and actually picked up some service, but I found that I’m not alone. While I had originally turned my phone off, and didn’t have the reception enabled purposefully, the article outlines that nearly one-third of airline passengers don’t turn off their cell phones.

Reading the FOX News story about the same topic, I was surprised by the informal way in which the information was presented. It still has the same story, but make the story much more like a conversation. It also fails to provide so many other resources for its readers to utilize, unlike the CNN story.



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