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

iNewbie Avatar
104 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)
camruny Avatar
104 months ago
Couldn't my device still become a "dangerous projectile" even if it were turned off?
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zin Avatar
104 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)
Amacfa Avatar
104 months ago
Another fantastic Apple rumor.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jclo Avatar
104 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)
Zxxv Avatar
104 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)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

Apple Releases iOS 16.0.2 With Bug Fixes for iPhone 14 Pro Camera Vibration, Copy/Paste Issue and More

Thursday September 22, 2022 1:04 pm PDT by
Apple today released iOS 16.0.2, addressing a number of bugs that iPhone 14 owners have been experiencing since the new devices launched. iOS 16.0.2 comes two weeks after the launch of iOS 16, and it follows iOS 16.0.1, an update made available to iPhone 14 owners on launch day. The update is available for all iPhones that are capable of running iOS 16. The iOS 16.0.2 update can be...
maxresdefault

Video Review: Four Days With the iPhone 14 Pro Max

Wednesday September 21, 2022 7:49 am PDT by
Apple on Friday released the new iPhone 14 models, and MacRumors videographer Dan picked one up on launch day. He's been using the iPhone 14 Pro Max non-stop since it came out, and over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, has shared his initial thoughts on the day-to-day experience with the latest iPhone. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Dan's mini review highlights...
iPad Pro Big Ol Logo

Five Features Rumored for the New iPad Pro Expected Next Month

Wednesday September 21, 2022 1:36 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will announce new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models as soon as next month. The new iPads will be the first update to the iPad Pro series since April 2021 and will be an overall incremental upgrade that brings new capabilities and functionality to the highest-end iPad. According to reports, Apple is planning an event for October to announce the new iPad Pro models, a...
ios 16 lock screen feature

Some iOS 16 Users Complain About Slow Spotlight Search and Battery Drain

Wednesday September 21, 2022 4:25 am PDT by
It's been nine days since Apple released iOS 16 to the public, bringing major changes to the Lock Screen, Messages, Maps, and more. In the days following the release, some users have encountered several issues on their iPhones, ranging from slow system performance to battery drain. In the past few days, iPhone 14 Pro users have shared specific bugs related to Apple's latest high-end iPhones, ...
Dynamic Island For Android Users Feature

Android App Copying iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island Released on Play Store

Thursday September 22, 2022 7:57 am PDT by
A copycat version of the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island has arrived on Android's Google Play Store in the form of an app called "dynamicSpot." The app, still in beta, offers customers several different experiences at the top of their smartphones. In its current form, dynamicSpot offers playback control for songs, timers, battery status, and more features coming soon, according to the app's...
facebook meta

Meta Sued Over Tracking iPhone Users Despite Apple's Privacy Features

Thursday September 22, 2022 5:12 am PDT by
Meta is facing a new proposed class action lawsuit that accuses it of tracking and collecting the personal data of iPhone users, despite features and policies made by Apple which are meant to stop that same type of tracking. In August, it was revealed that with the Facebook and Instagram apps, Meta can track all of a user's key taps, keyboard inputs, and more, when using the in-app browser....
apple watch ultra reddit 1

Lucky Customer Gets New Apple Watch Ultra Two Days Early

Wednesday September 21, 2022 2:03 pm PDT by
With millions of devices shipping out to customers with every Apple launch, there's occasionally someone who gets lucky and gets a new product ahead of schedule. This time around, Redditor playalisticadillac received an Apple Watch Ultra from AT&T two days before the official debut, sharing some images on the social media site. The images include an unboxing and comparisons to the...
new airpods pro ear tips

Apple Explains Why Second-Generation AirPods Pro Ear Tips Are Incompatible With Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 22, 2022 3:12 pm PDT by
Apple today explained why the new silicone ear tips for the second-generation AirPods Pro are not officially compatible with the original AirPods Pro. In an updated support document, Apple said the original AirPods Pro ear tips have "noticeably denser mesh" than the second-generation ear tips. Apple did not provide any additional details, but the mesh density could result in acoustical...