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October 11, 2014

Flight attendants want to bring back gadget ban during takeoff and landing

by John_A

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Frequent travelers might be happy that the FAA now allows the use of phones during takeoff and landing, but the biggest union of flight attendants (60,000 strong) in the country sure isn’t. The union’s lawyer has just attempted to get the FAA’s decision overturned in the Court of Appeals, arguing that the FAA should’ve followed standard procedure by notifying the public first and allowing people to comment before issuing any ruling. Also, Atty. Amanda Duré says her clients (the flight attendants) are concerned, because a lot of people have stopped paying attention to pre-flight safety demos and emergency announcements ever since the gadget ban was lifted. They’re worried about mobile devices turning into projectiles during turbulence, as well — something which has already happened in at least one incident.

The opposing lawyer, on the other hand, says the FAA did ask for and receive public feedback (around a thousand responses) and argues that phones are no more dangerous than books flying around the cabin. Unfortunately for the union, it’ll have a tough time convincing the court, as the FAA doesn’t exactly require airlines to allow the use of mobile gadgets during all phases of flight — the choice still remains with the companies. Duré says she’s confident the court would side with her clients, but adds that the union would be A-OK with a compromise: gadgets can remain switched on during takeoff and landing, but they have to be stowed away until the plane’s safely up in the air.

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Source: MSN, LA Times, Detroit News, The Wall Street Journal

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