Thursday, December 8, 2011

Airplane Mode

In the wake of Alec Baldwin's boot from a AA flight for playing Words with Friends, here's a recent article to keep in mind the next time you're told to turn off all electronic devices.

From the NYT...
According to the FAA, 712 million passengers flew within the United States in 2010. Let’s assume that just 1 percent of those passengers — about two people per Boeing 737, a conservative number — left a cellphone, e-reader or laptop turned on during takeoff or landing. That would mean seven million people on 11 million flights endangered the lives of their fellow passengers.  Yet, in 2010, no crashes were attributed to people using technology on a plane. None were in 2009. Or 2008, 2007 and so on. You get the point.
Surely if electronic gadgets could bring down an airplane, you can be sure that TSA, which has a consuming fear of 3.5 ounces of hand lotion, wouldn’t allow passengers to board a plane with an iPad or Kindle, for fear that they would be used by terrorists. 
New technologies are often greeted with fear and that is certainly true of a disruptive technology like cellphones. Yet rules that are decades old persist without evidence to support the idea that someone reading an e-book or playing a video game during takeoff or landing is jeopardizing safety.

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