VR World

Court Reaffirms Your Right To Use Electronics During Takeoff and Landing

A US appeals court has tossed a lawsuit by the Association of Flight Attendants, the labour union for flight attendants, that accused the FAA of “acting improperly” when it ruled to allow passengers to use their electronics during takeoff and landing.

The lawsuit (via Ars Technica) alleged that the FAA had overstepped its authority when it made the rule change in 2013. It also argued that there was a significant safety risk to passengers as they will be too distracted to hear safety announcements. The appeals court disagreed and said that the FAA had always had the legal authority to change these rules.

From the lawsuit:

In this case, it really does not matter whether Notice N8900.240 is viewed as a policy statement or an interpretive rule. The main point here is that the Notice is not a legislative rule carrying “the force and effect of law.” Perez, 135 S. Ct. at 1204. A legislative rule “modifies or adds to a legal norm based on the agency’s own authority” flowing from a congressional delegation to engage in supplementary lawmaking. Syncor, 127 F.3d at 95.

Currently the vast majority of airlines around the world have followed the FAA’s lead and have allowed passengers to use electronic devices during takeoff and landing. No word yet on whether there are other court challenges in jurisdictions around the world.

  • Howards_cat_Tarzan

    Real life answer to why electronics are not allow:
    When they started with this rule it was because people started to get cell phones. The genius of cell phones (compared to for example WiFi) is how your connection is handed over from base station to base station.
    And here is the real reason: A cell phone in air that can connect to hundred of cell towers and lock up those channels. Enormous resource hog and disrupts cell/data coverage. Especially in early 3G days when cell towers backend used ATM/166megabit connections. A 3G phone would lock up 8-10 channels per cell tower.
    Today cell towers have fiber backends = not the same problem with 8 channels locked but still a problem for phone companies that love making profit.

    (remember AT&T connection problems iPhone? Well. AT&T purposely installed about 1/4 of the recommended cell tower density to save money. I know. I worked for a decade within base tower research/support at Ericsson/Nokia)