The FAA relaxed restrictions on airplanes last November that allowed passengers to use e-readers, smartphones and tablets on all phases of travel. This has been a boon to readers, who simply want to immerse themselves in a great book. Not everyone is happy with the FAA, as the Flight Attendants Union filed a lawsuit last Friday, challenging the use of electronics.
As outlined by the Associated Press , the lawsuit alleges that the FAA “acted improperly” and failed to follow proper protocol implementing the changes. A lawyer for the Association of Flight Attendants argued that portable electronic devices distract passengers from safety announcements and can “become dangerous projectiles.”
The Association of Flight Attendants also argued that the FAA did not properly handle the process of changing its guidance. Apparently the FAA failed to follow the guidelines of the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires government agencies to give public notice and allow time for commenting when a rule is changed.
This lawsuit may not really go anywhere, as the three judges presiding over the case are not going to countermand the relaxed restrictions. “Airlines have always had discretion on how to handle this,” Judge Harry T. Edwards told a lawyer for the union, the 60,000-member Association of Flight Attendants.
Since the FAA allowed e-readers on all stages of air flights, over 31 airlines have adopted the use of electronics and they account for 95% of all commercial traffic in the US. A good rule of thumb, try at least to feign attention to the safety presentations.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.