Flight Attendants Union Challenges FAA Decision Allowing Passengers to Use Electronics in All Phases of Flight

The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) launched a lawsuit against the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last Friday in protest over the FAA's decision to allow passengers to use their iPads, iPhones, and other small portable electronic devices in nearly all phases of flight.

As outlined by the Associated Press (via TechCrunch), 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."

faa_ped_flight

Dure argued that in greenlighting the expanded use of electronics, officials violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act. The act requires government agencies to give the public notice and the ability to comment when a rule is changed. That didn't happen properly, the union argues.

FAA lawyer Jeffrey Sandberg responded to the AFA's allegations by suggesting portable electronic devices are "no more dangerous" than the books passengers have been allowed to keep out during landing and takeoff. The government agency also suggested that the policy change did not trigger the requirements for public notice.

Officially implemented in October of 2013, the FAA's policy change on portable electronic devices allows smaller electronics, like iPhones and iPads, to be used during all phases of flight. Prior to the rule change, all electronics were required to be stowed away until an altitude of 10,000 feet was reached.

Though devices can now be used during landing and takeoff, passengers are still required to place them into airplane mode, restricting cellular access. Usage of larger devices, like laptop computers, continues to be restricted for safety reasons.

While the FAA enacted the policy change that allows passengers to use their devices in all phases of flight, airlines have always had control over the implementation of the rule. Individual airlines, as the FAA points out, have control over when and if passengers are able to use their electronic devices in flight. A judge hearing the case expressed a similar sentiment, telling the AFA that "Airlines have always had discretion on how to handle this."

Thus far, the FAA has cleared 31 airline operators to allow passengers to use portable electronics during landing/takeoff and combined, those operators carry 96 percent of all U.S. commercial passengers.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
79 months ago
Dumb

This doesn't even make sense... Few really listened to the safety briefing anyway. Many people read a magazine or even SkyMall. Device or not if you want to pay attention you can. If you don't want to listen you're not going to.
Score: 54 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
79 months ago
Couldn't my device still become a "dangerous projectile" even if it were turned off?
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
79 months ago

Why do flight attendants care anyway?


They care because flight attendants bear some responsibility for the safety of the aircraft. If you are messing around on your iPhone or iPad then you are not paying attention to the safety announcements at the beginning of the flight, nor are you paying attention to any unexpected behaviour of the airplane during landing.

I just can't understand how it is so hard for somebody to stow away their gadgets for the first and last 10-15 minutes of the flight.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
79 months ago
Another fantastic Apple rumor.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
79 months ago

This doesn't even make sense... Few really listened to the safety briefing anyway. Many people read a magazine or even SkyMall. Device or not if you want to pay attention you can. If you don't want to listen you're not going to.


They obviously just want to force passengers back into reading SkyMall during landing and takeoff. Sales must be down.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
79 months ago
How many times do we have to listen to the safety brief? do they think we are stupid and didn't listen the first few times we flew?
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone 12 Pro in Graphite and iPhone 12 in Blue Shown Off in Unboxing Videos

Monday October 19, 2020 8:20 am PDT by
While the iPhone 12 Pro does not launch until Friday, we now have an early unboxing video of the device courtesy of Twitter account DuanRui, providing a closer look at the shiny new flat-edge design and sleek Graphite color option. Ben Geskin re-uploaded the unboxing video to YouTube, which we've embedded below: Geskin has also uploaded an unboxing video of the iPhone 12 in Blue: ...

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

Kuo: iPhone 12 Pro Demand Higher Than Expected

Sunday October 18, 2020 10:39 pm PDT by
TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a research note this morning detailing what he's seen with the volume of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro pre-orders in the first weekend of sales. Kuo had previously indicated that Apple's estimated shipment allocations for the new iPhone models placed the iPhone 12 at the top with 40-45% of inventory allocation (up from 15-20%). However, ...

Apple Releases iPadOS and iOS 14.1 With Multiple Bug Fixes Ahead of iPhone 12 Launch

Tuesday October 20, 2020 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.1, the first major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 14 operating system updates that were released in September. iOS and iPadOS 14.1 come a week after Apple released the golden master versions of the updates to developers. The iOS 14.1 update can be downloaded for free and it is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access...

Hands-On With Apple's MagSafe Charger for iPhone 12

Monday October 19, 2020 11:54 am PDT by
Alongside the new iPhone 12 models, Apple introduced a MagSafe charger that attaches to the back of the iPhones using magnets embedded both in the charger and in the iPhone. It allows for speedier charging and paves the way for a portless iPhone in the future. MagSafe chargers are shipping out and are in some Apple retail locations now, and we picked one up to check it out. Subscribe to the ...

Watch: iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Unboxing Videos and First Impressions

Tuesday October 20, 2020 6:05 am PDT by
Apple's embargo has lifted for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro reviews. In addition to our detailed review roundups for each device, we've rounded up over a dozen unboxing videos and first impressions below. iPhone 12 in Blue on left and iPhone 12 Pro in Pacific Blue on right via Engadget Key new features of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro include a flat-edge design, 5G support, a much faster A14 ...

Some Apple Watch SE Owners Experiencing Issues With Overheating [Updated]

Monday October 19, 2020 11:38 am PDT by
There may be an issue with the new Apple Watch SE, which some users have found is overheating after a few hours of usage. Several Apple Watch SE owners in South Korea have run into problems, as noted in a Reddit post chronicling the complaints. There have been six reports from Apple Watch SE owners in South Korea who have had their Apple Watches get hot and malfunction, with a yellow spot...

Gold Version of iPhone 12 Pro Apparently Has a More Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel Frame

Tuesday October 20, 2020 11:56 am PDT by
iPhone 12 Pro reviews hit the web today, and one of the more interesting tidbits came from TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino, who revealed that the Gold version of the device apparently has a more fingerprint resistant coating applied to the stainless steel frame. From his review:Most of the iPhone 12 Pro finishes still use a physical vapor deposition process for edge coating. But the new gold...

iPhone 12 Pro Max Has Smaller 3,687 mAh Battery According to Regulatory Filing

Tuesday October 20, 2020 8:48 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro Max is equipped with a 3,687 mAh battery, which is around 7% less capacity than the 3,969 mAh battery in the iPhone 11 Pro Max, according to a regulatory filing published by TENAA, the Chinese equivalent of the FCC. The regulatory filing, spotted by MacRumors, also lists the iPhone 12 Pro Max with 6GB of RAM as seen in benchmark results last week. Apple has filed ...

Hands-On With Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro MagSafe Cases

Tuesday October 20, 2020 1:33 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are launching this Friday, and ahead of that release date, Apple is shipping out various accessories like the MagSafe charger and MagSafe cases. Yesterday we took a look at the MagSafe charger, and today our MagSafe case came in the mail, so we thought we'd take another look at the charger to see how it works with the case and just how strong the case magnets are. S ...