Mobile workers of the world, unite!


There is good news from Washington for a change. The Federal Aviation Administration is considering lifting the ban on passengers using electronic devices during takeoffs and landings, according to a report by the New York Times.

An industry group that the FAA set up to examine the issue is expected to recommend that the agency allow passengers to use portable electronics on planes during takeoffs and landing in "airplane mode," although cellphone use will continue to be banned during those period, the report said, quoting members of group who did not want to be identified.

The industry group, which first met in January, includes representatives from Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), the Consumer Electronics Association, Boeing, the Association of Flight Attendants and the Federal Communications Commission. It is scheduled to release its findings by July 31 of this year.

To ensure that the FAA implements the group's recommendations, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is threatening to introduce legislation to ease the FAA's restrictions. She told the newspaper that she is frustrated with the FAA's position on passenger use of electronic devices after she learned that iPads can be used in cockpits and by flight attendants.

"So it's OK to have iPads in the cockpit; it's OK for flight attendants--and they are not in a panic--yet it's not OK for the traveling public. A flying copy of 'War and Peace' is more dangerous than a Kindle," she told the newspaper.

Those of us who like to use our electronic devices on planes to do work can rejoice. Certainly, the time we have to wait until we can power up our electronics, and the time that is wasted when the electronics are then turned off, could be better used for work, particularly when there appears to be no scientific evidence backing up the ban.

Mobile workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your wasted time. - Fred