On October 1st of last year the Federal Aviation Administration changed the rules concerning the use of electronic devices onboard planes, but few people seem to have noticed.
“I think to some extent people are not aware they can use their electronic devices. They’re so used to having it hammered into them that they have to turn off their devices. They’re still a little hesitant, a little resistant to use their devices,” says Christopher Elliott, co-founder of Travelers United, a passenger advocacy firm.
DePaul University studied passengers in 2013 before the change and then again after the change. The difference in the frequency of people using electronic devices was .5%.
Some people enjoy airline travel as the one respite from a technology-driven world and aren’t anxious to give up the peace. And the ambiguity of the rules probably doesn’t help.
“The rule is that you follow the instructions of the crew,” Elliott tells KTRH News. “While it may be true that you’re allowed to use some devices in flight, the policy and the way it is implemented vary by airline. So the best thing to do is waiting for permission from the crew, or there should be something in your in-flight magazine that says when you can and cannot and what electronic devices you may use at what point in the flight.
Talking on the phone and texting during take offs and landings are still forbidden, but the FAA has been taking public comment on the question, and may have a change in that policy in the future.