Plane Crazy

In this day and age, with the pervasiveness of electronic gadgets and gizmos, does it really make sense to ban the usage of electronic devices which have an “airplane” mode? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Hat tip to Nick Bilton, writer for the NY Times, whose article, Disruptions: Fliers Must Turn Off Devices, but It’s Not Clear Why, inspired today’s comic.


These beautiful and intelligent people wrote

  • IpstenuReply
    November 29, 2011 at 10:49 am

    It’s not an electrical device thing, actually.

    Most crashes happen during take-off and landing. If you’re distracted, reading an ebook or sleeping or listening to music, your chances of survival go down. However. Instead of actually telling people that, airlines think “People are dumb. If we say ‘turn off devices so if we crash, you’ll live.’ they’ll panic.”

    So they make up a bogus excuse.

    I’m not sure what I think about it in the long run, but I do hate when they wake me up from my nap at landing!

  • fitzageReply
    November 29, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Ipstenu, your answer makes sense until you realize that they let people read real books during take off and landing. Those are just as distracting as ebooks.

    • Kevin SReply
      November 29, 2011 at 1:54 pm

      @Fitzage: and YOUR answer makes sense until you realize the rules were made before the kindle existed, and are being applied to all devices with a screen, eInk or otherwise.

      Human beings are biologically programmed to focus our attention on anything that emits light, sound, or “moves”. This is why even TVs on mute are still distracting. Having people turn off their electronic devices is a good way to get everyone to pay attention.

      The side effect is that devices with eInk screens get generalized into the category of “electronic device”, regardless of how distracting they are. And who knows? They might be just as much of a distraction as other electronic devices for some people. There have been no studies into it.

      Takeoff and landings last at most 20 minutes. If you can’t put down you book, eBook, iPhone, Samsung Galaxy Tab, NetBook, or whatever and be patient for 20 minutes, then you’re no better than the squirmy little kid behind you screaming and kicking the seats.

      This is NOT an issue of the TSA trampling on people’s rights. If we want to be up in arms about anything, let’s stay mad about full body scanners and invasive screenings. The electronic devices is one rule that actually makes SENSE.

    • IpstenuReply
      November 30, 2011 at 9:55 am

      Oh, I know fitzage, and I think it’s idiotic personally. But.

      Originally, yes, they thought “OMG! That pager’s going to crash teh planez!” Like Dan said below, busted. Now it’s really less about e-readers and more about ‘listening devices’. I was always asked to turn off my walkman on planes. Yes I’ve been flying long enough that a walkman was normal at one point. In the 80s, when I asked why, the Stew (damn it, they were stew’s back then!) told me “Because you pay more attention if you’re not listening to something else.”

      I get why. You’re willing to drop a book and run if something’s on fire. But if my office fire drill proves anything, we grab our iPhones ;)

  • ZakReply
    November 29, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    The thing is: It would take too much time to check every electronic gadget of every passenger to see if they are safe. It would not make much sense to trust all passengers would make the right choice either, because most are dumb and/or jerks. So I am in favor of banning them from flight. Heck, I would be in favor of EMP pulse to fry them in the airport lobby. I do not support X-Rays and shoe removal, though, because is fascist, demeaning, and stupid. Bombers can avoid that a million ways.

  • MattReply
    November 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    The rules apply worldwide, so it not just the TSA, ad are a hangover from earlier designs of aircraft electronics. Earlier systems were very susceptible to radiation from poorly designed personal electronic devices and whilst modern aircraft systems are 1000% better and iPads, Kindles, phones, etc are quite well shielded, there is still a risk of interference, especially if a no-name knock-off is being used.

    The most critical phases of flight are the take-off and landing, as this is where, statistically most accidents occur. Thus the small imposition on your time is really for your own benefit.

  • DanReply
    November 30, 2011 at 3:01 am

    Mythbusters busted that one. Electronics are safe on a plane. Though, for PR purposes, did the “Better to be safe than sorry” excuse at the end.

    The airlines just want to remind us that they are the Big Brother and with the TSA, have the authority to make your life a living hell and to ensure you can only travel by Greyhound.

  • SuperTulleReply
    November 30, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Counterquestion: Does it really make sense to call a five year old boy a terrorist? Does it make sense to confiscate a babys food? Does it make sense to force crippled people to stand without their crutches?

    Answer: No, it doesn’t. But then again, paranoia rarely does.

Tell me what you think!