After two decades of being asked to stow away our electronics during takeoffs and landings, the Federal Aviation Administration is finally starting to break away from its its archaic rulebook, leaving it up to the airlines to decide when passengers need to put their gadgets away.
Looser restrictions have made for happier (or at least less bored) passengers, certainly. But there is a small but vocal group of flyers who aren’t very happy with the FAA’s recent spate of changes: Flight attendants. According to the Associated Press, the nation’s biggest flight attendant union wants customers to once again keep their phones, tablets, and other electronics hidden away during takeoffs and landings.
The union says the devices can distract passengers from safety announcements and become dangerous projectiles. The union also says that in letting passengers keep the devices out, the Federal Aviation Administration changed an agency regulation without steps required by law.
Now, airplane cabins do have the strange ability to turn otherwise normal people into self-entitled jerk-off nightmares—especially to flight attendants, who are just trying to do their jobs without losing their minds. However, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Harry T. Edwards seems unlikely to side with the 60,000-member flight attendant union, at least per his initial comments: “Airlines have always had discretion on how to handle this,” he said.