The news has been full of bluster about TSA regulations the last few weeks; you’ll notice that the bluster died away when people traveled for Thanksgiving and realized they weren’t being given invasive patdowns or even going through so-called ‘porno scanners’ more often than before (as a frequent flyer I’ve been going through those machines at certain airports for a year or two).
All of the complaints seemed to come from well off white technodweebs (like the people who run Boing Boing), so I’m surprised that they haven’t been campaigning against the real commercial flight pain in the ass - the way cabin crews make you turn off all your electronic devices on take off and landing. But Josh Duhamel has taken a stand.
The Transformers actor got kicked off a flight from New York City for refusing to turn off his Blackberry. The actor said, through reps, that he was texting about his flight being late. Apparently he was rude to the stewardess, who had him ejected from the flight.
But fuck that noise. There is no reason you can’t have your electronic devices on during take off and landing! Just about every device that transmits signal has an airplane mode, and activation of that is more than enough to insure safety. In fact, you don’t even need to do that much - I have personally forgotten to turn my phone to airplane mode before, I have flown with people who refuse to do it on principal, and I have been on a plane where someone got a call during descent! The plane didn’t crash.
There have always been ‘worries’ that electronics could interfere with cockpit operations - despite the fact that cockpits have been shielded since the 60s. There was one case in 1995 where autopilot disengaged on a flight that was blamed on a young boy’s laptop; the airline bought that exact computer and could never recreate the incident.
And then there are devices like The Kindle, which doesn’t even have a goddamned off switch, but if you’ve ever tried explaining that to a stewardess…
The reality is that the airline wants you paying attention on take off and landing, the most dangerous parts of flying. What’s hilarious is that more and more airlines are offering seatback video service, which means you can watch THEIR TV on the flight, just not your iPad’s. The reasoning there is that the cabin crew can break into the audio feed, but whatever. If I’m playing Civilization Revolution on my iPhone with airplane mode turned on and no headphones, what’s the real difference between that and reading a book? None.
So thank you, Josh Duhamel, for being the first celebrity to say ‘Fuck you, I want my electronic devices on even after the stupid door has been closed.’