Flight Attendants Sue FAA Over In-Flight Device Usage Rules

Posted by at 7:20 am on October 15, 2014

Flight attendants are challenging a decision made by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last year, over the use of electronic devices by passengers at all stages of flight. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA has sued the FAA over the matter, claiming the change makes flights inherently more dangerous because passengers may not fully understand the safety announcements.

Lawyers for the attendants claim the FAA should have informed the public over the possible changes and asked for comment before making a decision, reports the Wall Street Journal. The use of smartphones and other gadgets at take-off are also apparently distracting passengers during the pre-flight announcements, and so are not equipped to deal with an emergency situation. Lastly, it is suggested that during turbulence or more severe scenarios, the smartphones, tablets, and other equipment will turn into projectiles, potentially causing damage or injury to other passengers or the plane itself.

The FAA’s legal team deny the accusations, noting that the FCC asked for responses from the public, receiving around a thousand comments in the process, though the ultimate decision about in-flight devices lies with the individual airlines. The projectiles argument is also suggested to be misguided, as the same issue arises for other items commonly used in flight, such as books.

While the question about managing a passenger’s attention during the safety briefing is important and left unanswered, lawyers for the attendants have suggested a compromise on the current rules: Passengers will be able to keep their devices switched on at take-off and landing, but must still stow the item away during these times.

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