The end of flight mode?

The Economist reports:

CLAIRE MCCASKILL, a Democratic senator from Missouri, is perhaps best known for beating Todd Akin, a Republican with a bizarre theory about pregnancy and rape, at the 2012 election. That may soon change. If Ms McCaskill succeeds in her latest quest, she stands a chance of becoming a patron saint of business travellers for getting the ban on using in-flight portable electronic devices lifted.

Ms McCaskill, a member of the Senate’s transportation committee, is fed up with the slow pace of change at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). She has warned the agency in a letter that she is “prepared to pursue legislative solutions should progress be made too slowly” on allowing the use of electronic devices throughout a flight. The FAA, which has given various evasive explanations for the ban, is under the jurisdiction of the committee and so has reason to take this seriously.

There is no evidence that electronic devices such as phones and iPads cause a problem on aeroplanes. If there were, they would be banned on board. In any case, many people leave their phones on, or simply defy the rules. According to a recent survey cited in The Week,around 40% of passengers said they never turn off their phones during a flight, and a small number knowingly break the regulations by using their phones to talk or text.

The restrictions are silly. There is no technical necessity to switch an iPad off during take off, or even to have it in flight mode during the trip.

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