Senate Democrat proposes bill to allow iPad, iPod use from takeoff to landing

“Frustrated with the slow process at the FAA, Sen. Claire McCaskill said Thursday she will write legislation to allow passengers to use electronic devices during all aspects of flight,” Burgess Everett reports for Politico.

“In a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, the Missouri Democrat said she is ‘concerned’ with Huerta’s ‘lack of direct engagement’ on expanding the use of personal electronic devices during flight and called the current set of rules that force passengers to put away their iPods at altitudes below 10,000 feet ‘preposterous,'” Everett reports. “The proposed bill would not apply to cellphone use but would dramatically expand the use of iPads, other tablets, music players and other devices before, during and after flight.”

Everett reports, “McCaskill said neither members of the public nor lawmakers believe the FAA’s contention that regulations requiring passengers to shut off their devices during takeoff and landing ‘are any longer about safety.’ McCaskill first raised the issue with Huerta last December, noting what she called the FAA’s ‘intransigence’ on the issue, even as flight crews received the go-ahead to use devices during flight as ‘electronic flight bags’ that will replace the bulky bags filled with dozens of pounds of critical aviation information.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote on March 19, 2012:

It’s a load-of-crap rule, as anyone who’s ever flown knows. On any given flight, multiple people with iOS and other devices never turn them off (likely, some of these people don’t even know how to really turn their devices off) or never even put them to sleep. They certainly don’t put them into “Airplane Mode,” either. Their Wi-Fi is on all flight long and most of the time there are at least three personal hotspots bouncing all throughout the plane, too. The fact is – we see it almost every flight – some people simply hide them from the flight attendants and continue to use them during takeoff and/or landing and, guess what, we’re still here.

Related articles:
American Airlines first commercial carrier with FAA approval to use Apple iPads in all phases of flight – September 11, 2012
FAA to study use of iPads, iPhone on airplanes during entire flight – August 28, 2012
F.A.A. taking ‘fresh look’ at passenger use of iPad, devices use during takeoff and landing – March 19, 2012


  1. If im not mistaken the fear isn’t about interfering with Avionics, but to force people to be a close to distraction free during the safety briefing. Also, to keep isles between rows clear of clutter in-case an evacuation is called for.

    If there were an emergency evacuation called for during taxi for take off and someone couldn’t get out/died because they got tangled in someones iPad headphone or charging cables, how would that look?

    I think the argument over interference with avionics is silly, but there could be a legit safety concern.

    1. You may well be right, but by not being forthcoming with the real reasons, a discerning public is right to be suspicious.

      And creating rules and regulations based on fear of what could happen is bad policy-making. People got ejected from cars during collisions and died, so seat belts and laws about using them made good policy. There is no evidence of any of the “could happens” you (and everyone else; I’m not singling you out) list have happened so making rules and regs about them is bad policy. So, yes, in a way I am saying somebody has to die before something is done “about this.” That is, from my viewpoint, a fact of living in age where we put ourselves at risk in almost everything we do.

    2. I agree there shouldn’t be any earphones worn during takeoff, but that’s all the restrictions there should be on personal electronics.

      People have been free to read non-electronic newspapers, seat-back magazines and books forever, even through the safety briefing.

      All the videos on youtube of takeoff and landings are proof enough that they don’t interfere with flight operations.

      1. Oh really? I had no idea that the FAA has authority or jurisdiction over non-US-flagged airliners not flying in US airspace. So Lifthansa flying from Frankfurt to London is under the FAA’s jurisdiction?

        PS: The “three worlds” convention is:

        1. The Western (Free) World
        2. The Eastern (Communist) World
        3. Non-aligned nations (which are largely now known as non-developed or developing nations – the Third World countries

    1. Well, as some above have suggested, many people have no idea how to truly “shut down” their devices. Take a poll of shoppers in an Apple Store and see how many are aware of the “Airplane Mode” setting. That would probably open your eyes.

    2. I don’t know about you, but I use my iPad to work and prepare myself for my next appointment. It’s 15 min on either end of the flight, more if they have to circle before landing. That’s time lost looking into magazines and counting the dandruff flakes on the head rest in front of me.

  2. It’s such a silly rule. No one “turns off” his/her devices during takeoff and landing. I certainly don’t. I can have my iPhone blaring music to my Bluetooth earbuds and as long as I don’t have the earbuds in my ears, the flight attendants wouldn’t know. It’s just them telling you: “You can’t be *seen* using the devices during takeoff and landing.” Absurd…

  3. McCaskill, like her America-hating colleagues on the radical left, needs to be fired! They love Apple because of its homosexual-endorsing agenda and will bend over backwards elevating them with the help of bloodsucking lawyers any way they can. iPad use during flights at times when it might interfere with onboard electronics should be prohibited, unless of course u r a democrat who cares little about safety and wants to wreck the world so you can save it!

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