Dumping the Dreaded “Turn off Your Electronic Devices”

photo credit: Rollofunk via photopin cc

photo credit: Rollofunk via photopin cc

I am not a happy flier. I do it because I have to do it to get places. If there was an option, I’d choose it. Any “it”. But usually there is no option, so I have to fly.

It’s not just the flying that puts me off. Just getting to the gate of your plane can be quite the ordeal with new rules about luggage fees, kiosk check-ins, and crazy long security lines.

And then you crush into those airplane seats which were obviously made for a race of beings that are much smaller than the average human. No place for your knees, your elbows squished to your sides and (usually) the seat in front of you reclined so that it practically touches your nose.

Once I’m strapped in place, I want to ‘escape’! I pull out my kindle and jump into a book and do my best to forget about my budding claustrophobia, discomfort and just a touch of terror fear-of-flying.

But, just as I start to lose myself in my book, the doors close, the plane pulls away from the gate, and the announcement comes on “Please power down your electronic devices for take-off.”


Take offs and landings are both times that I especially want to forget where I am and be lost in my book. Hurtling down the runway is not my idea of a good time.

Happily, this rule may soon be changed. Hurray!!

The New York Times is reporting that by the end of the year these restrictions may be relaxed.

Apparently, the Federal Aviation Administration set up a committee last year to look at this issue since they have been under increasing pressure to either change this rule or PROVE that it matters. Lots of folks have argued for years that these devices don’t really interfere with the functioning of the plane. And now the FAA has been pushed to the point of “put up or shut up”.

Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, has now introduced legislation to make this happen. “So it’s O.K. to have iPads in the cockpit; it’s O.K. for flight attendants — and they are not in a panic — yet it’s not O.K. for the traveling public,” she said. “A flying copy of ‘War and Peace’ is more dangerous than a Kindle.” After meeting with the chairman of the F.C.C. she said “The idea that in-flight use of electronic devices for things like reading a book poses a threat to the safety of airline passengers is baseless and outdated.”

Even the pilots are using iPads, for goodness sake!

I’ll be flying again in June. The reports say the changes will be announced “by July 31”, so I’ll probably still have to turn off my Kindle for this flight.

But hopefully this will be the last time.


32 thoughts on “Dumping the Dreaded “Turn off Your Electronic Devices”

  1. I’m right there with you on the whole flying thing. It’s something I hate like poison, but have to do now and then. I used to smuggle a water bottle of clear peach Schnapps to sip myself into blissful oblivion, though I paid for it with total befuddlement at the end of the flight. Sadly, I can’t do that any more. (Maybe a medically approved IV line with a vodka drip would work?) Since I’ll be flying to San Diego within the next week or ten days for the birth of my first grandson, I’ve been contemplating how I was going to endure such a flight. I’m just happy to know I can read my Kindle after we are in the air. I had thought maybe that wouldn’t be an option. But it’s nice to know it will possibly be available during take off & landing, too.
    Thanks for the update!

      • Thank you, Dear Heart! I AM really excited, but sometimes that just leads to me getting all hyper and even more nervous overall. However, I will take my dose of Bonine (which really works with my air sickness issues) so I can read, and I will have both Kindle and a good paperback in my purse, so I’m covered, either way. I will NOT let my Fear of Flying keep me from meeting my new grandbaby…or McMuffin, as I call him, since they haven’t decided on a name yet. (He’s due Sunday, so they better be narrowing down the field!)

  2. I have problem at all with flying but I the whole “turn off all electronic devices” thing is just ridiculous. I’m not exactly an expert in how aircraft work, but I don’t understand why electronic devices with flight mode cannot be ON during take off and landing. Technically speaking, if there is a chance of them interfering with any aircraft control, then why should we allow them to interfere during the flight? 😉 Why not instead, have them on fight-safe mode all the time? Period. I think that an ebook reader with it’s wifi turned off (and some don’t even have wifi, so there…) is absolutely fine to use.
    Speaking of the various restrictions… I have read that they are planning (at least in Europe, I think) to remove the restrictions on 100ml liquids. You can buy plenty of liquids att he duty-free shops anyway, so they whole system is completely insane. My mother was once given a complimentary drink on a KLM flight. It came in a nice little ceramic house and there was a series for collectors… I think there were some 40 different ceramic houses, all with the same liquor inside. Right, so… she was offered the drink on the flight, only to have it confiscated at Schipol Airport (KLM hub… ) by their security personnel, claiming it wasn’t compliant with the ml restrictions. My mother did say something along the lines of: “hello?! I got this on one of your flights…”, but she obviously had to give up the present to the security officers.
    I lost count of how many times I’ve seen people going back to playing on their iPhones and the likes, as soon as the flight attendant passed 😉
    Good luck on you June flight! Stay positive: soon, the rules will change 😀

  3. jumeirajames says:

    The whole point about confiscation fluids over a certain volume is so that terrorists can’t mix a decent sized volume of explosive. The alcohol you get in duty free or on the plane have been security checked.
    If we must moan about security measures lets moan about the people who made it necessary for the authorities to enforce the measures. They are the enemy.
    I went through Kuwait Airport today (a word of advice – never go there) and I thought my trousers would have to come off to get through the screens. But as long as everyone has the same level of screening I don’t mind. It wasn’t that long ago that ‘ladies in chador’ could beep through the screens and not be frisked. At least that’s changed.

    On devices I don’t mind Kindles but on Middle East flights people can use their phone. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets an iPhone shoved up their a*se.

    • Glad you didn’t lose your trousers at the Kuwait Airport. 🙂 In all seriousness, you make some good points. Such a shame that all these security measures are necessary at all.

    • I agree completely. None of this is the fault of the airlines. They are just trying (although sometimes somewhat ineptly) to keep us from being killed by the crazies of the world who don’t care who dies as long as they get to make a statement. I feel sorry for the screeners and everyone else. They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. I just wish they would use more common sense in their screening processes, and be consistent with them. They can look at anything of mine they want as long as they don’t let my plane get blown up.

    • While I agree with your point about alcohol and the various restrictions, a member of my family got an in-flight alcohol item confiscated, while supposedly that item shouldn’t have been confiscated. I would hope this was an isolated incident.

      Extrapolating and exaggerating… even with the recent advances in technology, one usually carries a pen. Then one could stab someone (cabin crew included) in the eye or elsewhere with it or any other random writing instrument. A fountain pain could have some special ink (or no ink at all) that mixed with something else turns into an explosive. However, pens of all sorts are still allowed on flights.
      I also assume that some explosive mixes might need less than 100 ml of each of their components.
      Business and first class passengers are given metal cutlery. While the knives are not pointy, one could still come up with something with them.
      I guess one could go on for hours citing examples in which the restrictions we are subject to now before boarding any flight are “a bit” useless.
      If one wants to do harm, they’ll find a way.

      I do agree that we need to take care of passengers’ safety. There’s absolutely no argument there. I just think that some of the restrictions as they are now, may not guarantee the 100% passengers’ safety anyway.
      It’s a matter of choice between the lesser of the 2 evils 😉 Then I think I’m fine with the restrictions. I got used to them; eventually we adapt and abide.

      To be honest, I’m a bit more annoyed by mothers travelling alone with a 1-2 year-old on an airline that allows 2 pieces of hand luggage per passenger, therefore travelling with 4 (usually max. size allowed) hand luggages and the child. Oh, and maybe also the baby stroller, which doesn’t count… I’ve seen surreal situations, with people risking to miss their flight because some woman before them at the security check point clearly can’t handle the child AND the amount of hand luggage AND the restrictions 😉

      Sharechair, you talked about air travel… you may have opened the Pandora’s box 😉

      • jumeirajames says:

        I agree with all of that. I travel extensively in the Middle East and I could fill a book with the stuff I’ve seen people take on board airplanes.
        The point about weaponry is spot on. I was in economy today and everyone had metal knives and forks. But all anyone needs is a broken bottle.
        The point is that the pilots are now sealed in and the biggest danger is a hole being blown in the fuselage. If someone ran amok on the plane the pilots would not leave the cockpit.

        • I think we’ve all learned to live with security …. but the lines are often overwhelming. Sometimes it’s hard to judge how much time you need to go to the airport, because you don’t know how long the line might be. Often I spend as much time AT the airport than I do in the air! 🙂

  4. Ewwwww, I hate flying and I do it constantly. The recycled air, sick people flying, the grotesque bathrooms and the unregulated arilines make me bilious. My most recent flight was cancelled because the plane was not full which I learned at the airport. The staff person said the plane had “mechanical problems,” and I said, “Yeah, right the plane wasn’t full.”
    He looked sheepish and said, “Actually that’s true.”
    Thank you Southwest! I only fly with you 20 times a year so I have learned to expect this special treatment.
    A least the stewardess on this flight created some diversionary amusement when she did the public announcement thanking us all for flying Southwest and telling the passengers who were continuing on to “stay in their seats for you contined flight to……..Judy, where are we going?”
    Judy didn’t know.
    So the passengers piped up, “Tahiti, Fiji, Paris….” and other helpful suggestions.
    Sure beats a bloody southwest continuing flight to Phoenix!!!

    • That is hilarious!! I think maybe those stewardesses are a bit burned out. Talk about being casual with their job!! You have to fly 20 times a year????? That is about 19 times more than I could tolerate. 🙂

  5. Thank you for sharing the great news! While I haven’t been a frequent flier, I am about to become one as twin grandsons are due to be born later this year and will live about 2000 miles away from my home. So, I will soon more often be enduring all of the flying “fun” that you so well described.


  6. Wow, you did open a can of comments with this post! I agree that flying is such a pain. I’m with the rest of your readers about safety, but I have had the TSA lady with her hand in my my blouse, checking me for I don’t know what – several times until she was arguing with the naked picture watcher that the problem that showed up on my naked picture was stitching in the blouse, not something under it! So much for their electronics. Maybe they should have to turn those off! hahaha I like safety, and try to make light of the pains. I was so glad when Kindles and iPhones came along so I didn’t have to have so many books that get heavier the long you stand in line waiting for your naked picture! All I need after they get those legalized during take-off is a grand-baby! 🙂 Congratulations to Marcia and Russtowne.

  7. I love my iPad, iPhone and kindle. But just for the June trip, a book (maybe one you’re already reading on your kindle/iPad) to get you through the before and after of the actual (frightening) flight. I use to fly lots. Before I-lectonics. 🙂 The stand by martini was my go to. :-D. Haven’t known in a dogs age. Big baby!
    Good luck til things change.

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