Tell The FAA What You Think About Using Electronics During Take Off

We’ve mentioned this before, but if you’d like to keep playing Fruit Ninja (or whatever people are doing now) while you ascend into the heavens, you’ll probably want to take note of these instructions for letting the FAA know your feelings about electronics use during take off.

Personally, I’m always forgetting my e-reader is an electronic device. I’m just too busy plotting against the Seven Kingdoms to be aware of my surroundings. They shall never have my dragons.

The FAA would like to know if there should be a standard for airline-friendly electronics and who should be researching how they affect aircraft. That sort of thing.

Your options:

  • Email:
  • Federal eRulemaking Portal:
  • Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30; U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
  • Fax: Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.

We want to know…


Edit Your Comment

  1. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    You know those headphones for cats? They’re small enough for child-sized heads, aren’t they? The last thing I need is for the FAA to tell everyone they can keep using their electronics and I hear beep-beep-boop-beep from the kid playing on his or her parent’s phone.

  2. BradC says:

    Does anyone really think that every plane always has every electronic device turned off every time it takes off or lands? If these things were going to cause a problem planes would be crashing all the time…

  3. PragmaticGuy says:

    Jet Blue doesn’t turn off their TV or sat music during take off, I can’t see what problem e-readers and the like would have. Thankfully, conversations on cell phones will not be permitted.

  4. shepd says:

    I can only hope everyone who is unhappy with the sound or view or just feeling of someone using electronics on a plane conveys honestly to the FAA that’s what their problem with them is.

    Since the FAA will dismiss such things for what they are: People moaning that they just don’t like what other people do–rather than actual problems.

  5. dicobalt says:

    I say get a test airplane and jam it full of hundreds of electronic gadgets then see what happens.

    • Mr_Magoo says:

      That already happens thousands of times a day.

      • dicobalt says:

        Hundreds of laptops, cell phones, tablets, and other crap all at once? How big are these planes?

        • Mr_Magoo says:

          I usually carry 5 – laptop, kindle, phone, QC headphones, cordless mouse. On my last flight all 5 of the other people in my row had their iPads out during the flight, and they all had smartphones. Most of this stuff doesn’t get actually turned off.

          So yeah, I think it’s safe to say that a flight with 150 passengers has ‘hundreds’ of electronic gadgets on board.

          • dicobalt says:

            Not when the plane was taking off they didn’t. That’s where the concern is.

            • Mr_Magoo says:

              During landing, my laptop, mouse, kindle, and smartphone are usually on, just sleeping to some extent.

              Watch people whip out there cell phones upon landing, and you’ll observe how few are actually off – most are just in airplane mode, as evidenced by their owners being able to talk on them within a minute of touchdown.

  6. HeadsOnPikes says:

    Why are they seeking public comments on this? Isn’t the reason that electronic devices are being used because they are theoretically a safety risk?

    If the devices are, in fact, a safety risk, then public opinion shouldn’t matter.

    If the devices are not a safety risk, then there is no reason to even consider keeping the ban (with the understanding that the any lift on the ban would not include voice calls).

    • AjariBonten says:

      you lose 4 internet points for making a sane and logical comment; WHY AREN’T YOU THINKING OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!!!!

  7. thomwithanh says:

    A pilot once told me that on older aircraft (e.g. L-1011, DC-10, classic 747’s, etc…) that interference was a real issue. Today however, the odds of a smartphone, laptops or Kindles doing any harm to a modern aircraft’s navigation or communication systems is zero. He said the real reason the policy never changed is to prevent PED’s from becoming projectiles in the event of an aborted take off or other sudden ground stop.

    • scoosdad says:

      That was my thought as well about the ban. And it really should be more about safety during takeoff and landing, and making sure people were alert and paying attention to what’s going on during that time frame. If ever there was a time during a flight when you’d need to be paying attention, a plane that went up, suddenly coming back down again is it. There may be important announcements being made over the PA that if you miss it, you might end up dead.

      Captain Sully’s landing on the Hudson comes to mind. Those people didn’t have much time at all to prepare for that. No one wants to be in the window seat while two idiots next to you have to clear their electronics out of the way so you can escape the water rushing into the back of the plane.

      • Mr_Magoo says:

        If paying attention were the reason for the ban, then nobody would be allowed to read books, and nobody would be allowed to sleep during takeoffs and landings.

        If the reason for the ban was the possibility of PEDs becoming projectiles, then again, nobody would be allowed to read their books during takeoffs and landings. There are a lot of hardcover books that weigh more than a Kindle or an ipod.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          The flight attendants always say “ALL PERSONAL ITEMS must be stowed during takeoff and landing.” Put your fracking book in the fracking seat pocket until the plane takes off, then take it out again. That is what I do. I was under the impression that it was what we ALL were supposed to do!

          Do people have so little self-control that they can’t wait a few minutes for the plane to take off?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

          • Mr_Magoo says:

            I’ve been on many flights, and I’ve NEVER had an FA tell me or anyone else to put away a book or magazine. I’ve had them tell my seatmate to put away his headphones or his Kindle, while ignoring the book I was actively reading.

            It has nothing to do with self control. If there is a genuine safety issue, I won’t complain. However, there is no safety issue here – just outdated rules.

      • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

        …There may be important announcements being made…

        “This is your Captain speaking. We are all about to die. We know you have a choice when flying and we’d like to—“

  8. mikesanerd says:

    This is incredibly stupid. Why the hell would public comment matter at all on whether something that very few people understand in the slightest is safe? All the research I am aware of says that electronics during takeoff and landing definitely has an effect on the plane’s instruments, that this effect is probably dangerous in some situations, and that past crashes may or may not have been caused by this. (There’s no way to know, as this type of data isn’t available post-crash.) Put your damn electronics away for 10 friggin’ minutes and read a book or something.
    Source: IEEE Spectrum (an electrical engineering magazine)

    • mikesanerd says:

      “our research has found that these items can interrupt the normal operation of key cockpit instruments, especially Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, which are increasingly vital to safe landings. Two different studies by NASA further support the idea that passengers’ electronic devices dangerously produce interference in a way that reduces the safety margins for critical avionics systems.”

    • Mr_Magoo says:

      I’d love to read my book, but the stupid FAA makes me put my Kindle away!

    • shepd says:

      Cellphones are banned anyways for other reasons (such as how they hop from tower to tower too quickly), and FAA is not interested in comments on them, so while interesting, the IEEE article isn’t relevant to the discussion as it focuses on cellphones (although it does give some mention to other devices). :^)

      All devices that don’t offer wifi (something else that, since it’s designed to transmit, shouldn’t be permitted during landing/takeoff) are required not to emit harmful transmissions by law. If they’re doing that, then they need to have their UL status revoked. Of course, UL doesn’t apply to battery powered items, but I’m guessing the FCC would take care of it in that case. :)

  9. Jen Ever says:

    I am T-E-R-R-I-F-I-E-D of flying. Especially takeoffs and landings. If I could keep my ears plugged with the noisiest music I know and my eyes busy in a Kindlebook during takeoff, I would be less prone to chewing on my sleeves and suppressing tears of fear. There’s only so much that a pre-flight margarita and a Skymall can do for me.

  10. tasselhoff76 says:

    I thought Myth Busters tested this like five years ago or something?

    • JGT says:

      I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Mythbusters and in thie issue with Brian Inahara, an EE. However, I don’t see how they could test this without doing as suggested above and load a REAL plane with hundreds of devices and doing REAL flights. Given the Mythbuster MO, they’d want to really crash a plane.

  11. HogwartsProfessor says:

    My comment:

    My main concerns with electronics on aircraft are them flying around if the captain has to slam on the brakes during takeoff, or if there’s a problem at landing.. I thought that was why ALL personal items must be stowed at these times.

    I put my book and water bottle in the seat pocket until the plane is in the air. Am I the only person who does this? Am I the only person who doesn’t want other people’s Kindles hitting me in the head? I check the locations of exits when I get on the plane, and I already know the safety drill, so a quick glance at the flyer is enough for me to get up to speed on each aircraft.

    As far as having a phone on in airplane mode and playing a game, I don’t do that because I don’t have a smartphone, but it seems like the latest electronics wouldn’t mess with the plane too much. Can’t people wait a few minutes until the plane is in the air?

    • who? says:

      Honestly, the only time I’ve ever heard of someone’s device clocking someone else was when my boss was on a flight that hit turbulence so bad that it made the national news. His ipod ended up wrapped around the neck of the woman sitting next to him. A couple of people had minor injuries from crashing against the roof of the plane themselves (remember the seat belt sign?), not from anything hitting them.

      Given this imminent danger, I think we should all have everything put away, and sit in the brace position, for the entire flight.

  12. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I would like to add, if your iPad hits me in the head during an aborted takeoff, I AM KEEPING IT.


  13. Jawaka says:

    God forbid that people can unplug themselves for even a few short minutes

  14. Abradax says:

    Maybe the FAA should investigate why a plane could be downed by a consumer cell phone, and work towards fixing THAT issue.

  15. RAYMOND_T says:

    Take a cell phone and leave it next to an FM broadcast radio. After awhile the phone will change cell sites when the one it’s hanging out on (called “Camping”) becomes full. The noise you will hear is an example of the interference the FAA wants to avoid. FM Broadcast recievers can easily interfere with aircraft communications. “Super Hetrodyne” radios generate a signal inside the device for mixing the recieved signal down to a lower frequency for amplification and converting into sound.
    People are willing to risk their safety and the safety of everyone else because they’re ‘bored’?
    Greyhound seems a lot more appealing now.