Passengers should Refrain from Mobile Phone Use during Takeoffs and Landings

Passengers should Refrain from Mobile Phone Use during Takeoffs and Landings

The nation's largest flight attendants union wants airline passengers to return to stowing cell phones and other electronics at the time of takeoffs and landings.

A lawyer for the union argued before a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that last year, aviation officials failed to make passengers learn that they must not use small electronics at the time of takeoffs and landings.

According to the union, when passengers use those devices, they get distracted and couldn't pay heed to safety announcements and become dangerous projectiles. Adding to it, the union said that the Federal Aviation Administration changed an agency regulation without taking steps required by law.

But according to the judges hearing the case, they won't be removing portable electronics from passengers' hands.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last year announced that it was making changes in the guidance that had allowed passengers to use cell phones, tablets, and music and video players during takeoffs and landings for years.

Under the new guidance, airlines can allow passengers to use the devices when the plane is properly protected from electronic interference and the airlines receive the FAA's approval. When cell phones are used then they must be in airplane mode.

According to the FAA, since the announcement has been made, it has cleared 31 airline operators to allow passengers to use small electronics during takeoffs and landings. Those operators together carried 96% of US commercial passengers last year.

Union lawyer Amanda Dure told the judges that anyone who had been on a plane last year must have noticed a massive change. The flight attendants argued that the FAA changed the rules without taking public opinion.

"Airlines have always had discretion on how to handle this", Judge Harry T. Edwards told a lawyer for the union, according to the Associated Press.

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