Using Electronics on a Plane – A Review

So, Holly and I just got back from traveling, which often ends up as something on our mind afterwards. And this time, there was an important difference. We’ve traveled with our iPads filled with Board Game apps before, these sorts of things, and modern technology does great things for travel.

And it’s here that we ran into something very new in our travels – we could use our electronics during takeoff and landing! Which was kind of nice for our first few flights, which did not stop me from bringing a physical book and reading it… but which, today, during eight hours up and down on a plane, was amazing.

So we had a few thoughts and observations from getting to experience this, and I thought I would share them with you. Because while it seems like it is a small change, it has larger implications and we’ll have to see where this goes!

Those Poor Flight Attendants

So one of the more amusing elements from traveling with electronics allowed is just that the flight attendants are clearly not used to it yet. On every flight, we were asked to turn off electronics at various times. Then the flight attendants did all sorts of things to fix it, correct it, or ignore it. We knew we could use our electronics, so we got to ignore them saying it, and just kind of laugh at it.

There’s a couple of problems, though. One, is people NOT knowing they can in fact use their electronics – like a guy sitting next to us on one flight, who took off his headphones when (incorrectly) asked to do so, and waited, and then put them back in. He wasn’t doing any harm. He could have just listened to music the whole time. So, take note! Look it up for your airline! Know what you’re allowed to do! That’s my advice.

Of course, there’s a serious problem with my advice, and what Holly and I did on our flights. We technically, at several points, did not do what the flight attendants asked us to do, even though they didn’t mean to, even though it isn’t what’s supposed to be said. It means we, and many others, were ignoring the flight attendants. This undermines their authority, and we just have to hope that this doesn’t turn out to be a problem in an emergency situation on some flight some day.

Nice To Keep Going

We were on a flight today, with three stops before our final destination. The things you get with miles, right? Anyway, with the ups-and-downs especially, being able to leave our headphones in rather than stow them and get them back out – great. Was best actually on a different flight, with a screaming baby. Time for some music.

Today, we also played board games for most of the flights, on our iPad, and not having to put it up and get it back out constantly was just such a nice touch. Not having to stop suddenly. Would have been similar with a Kindle or something too, but you can imagine that this would be nice.

But there’s another point to make: not just that you can use the devices, but even just that you can have them out. That’s different. Before, they would have needed to be stowed – perhaps just for the reason of making sure they are off and stay off. Now, you can not only use them – say, out of sight – you can have them out. Our iPad had to go nowhere during takeoff and landing. Because is it any more or less dangerous than me holding a book, if it goes flying from my hands?

Future and Implications

Now, it’s still not everything. As I understand it, we still shouldn’t use Bluetooth, as it uses something closer to Radio – or is it actually radio? I don’t know. Anyway. It’s not everything. You still have to stow Laptops – too much like a tray table, too in-the-way in an emergency. But still, it’s a pretty good situation.

You have to take Laptops out of your carryons, or have them in the fancy holders, for security screening, as well. More and more, tablets are gaining advantages over laptops – an interesting thing to watch happen. Of course, without being able to use our Bluetooth keyboards, it’s not like we got to write a blog post or anything on the flight. Still, what will developments like these do for the future of laptops, in the face of tablets?

Another question, then, is what happens with all the print materials people buy for travel? Be they books, because you couldn’t use your Kindle during takeoff and landing, or magazines or newspapers. What is going to happen to people buying things for these purposes – will we see an increase in e-book users, in people subscribing to magazines electronically? Is this another nail in the coffin on magazines and newspapers? Or just a hit to the little shops in the airport who sell them?

I may be looking at too large of things. Like the flight attendants saying their same old lines and remembering things have changed; like the people habitually turning off electronics; or like myself packing a physical book AND a Kindle. Will this not change a whole lot, because we’re stuck in our patterns? Or, given some time, is this going to be a big hit to the world of print media and older technologies? Let us know what you think in the comments below! And if you have your own stories of flying recently or with electronics, share those too!

5 responses to “Using Electronics on a Plane – A Review

  1. I was pleasantly surprised that, on my flight in late December, the Delta crew had transitioned to new messaging almost overnight. It felt like the rules had always been this way. It’s not often I praise an airline, but nicely done Delta!

    Now if we could only get passengers to turn off the sound on Candy Crush.


  2. On our flights to and from Seattle, we had people with tablets who forgot to mute the sound or use headphones for their Fruit Ninja fun times. Otherwise, I have no complaints!


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