For almost a year now, I’ve had a finished article about how to be a ninja on flights and use your mobile device (in Airplane Mode) during the entire flight. However, all of the controversy over my article: Take Alcohol to Drink on Your Flight, gave me pause about posting it. It was helping people break the rules, no matter how pointless the rules were. Luckily, it’s now totally irrelevant.
I’ll reminisce for a moment. Two years ago I sat next to an AA pilot in First Class. I didn’t know he was a pilot when he sat down, so I went about my normal routine of putting my phone in airplane mode, plugging my headphones into it, and stashing it under my left thigh. He noticed what I was doing and tapped my shoulder. I pulled my earbuds out and he then told me that he was a pilot for AA. My initial though was, “Busted!” However, instead of reprimanding me, he gave me some advice. He said that devices in airplane mode create zero issues. However, iPhones are the worst offenders when they aren’t in airplane mode. They give pilots horrible feedback in some cases. He then encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing, as long as it’s in airplane mode. By the end of the flight we had discussed his visit to the Boeing 787 prototype, the design of its cockpit and the Allied Pilots Association (union). We were pretty much best friends.
So now, 2 years later, the FAA has finally ruled in favor of that pilot’s opinion. The press release states: “WASHINGTON– The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta today announced that the FAA has determined that airlines can safely expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight, and is immediately providing the airlines with implementation guidance.”
It took AA a week to announce their adoption of the rule change, but it’s exciting to hear that they are completely removing the limitations. Just remember to use Airplane Mode. The pilots appreciate it.