Let's face it, we all want to "stay connected" when we travel, and contrary to some thoughts, we really don't need to talk on the phone these days to get a message to someone anymore. We've also learned over the years that modern day mobile phones don't interfere with the airplane's navigation. I should know, I've been one of many frequent fliers who found one of my devices magically turned on when I land in my bag or pocket after turning it off so I've since resorted to using flight safe mode on my devices. But as a result of a combination of safe traveling/flying and consumer demand, the FAA is going to take input over the next six months to determine what to do next with in-flight smartphone and other device use. This is a huge win for Gogo, the in-flight WiFi brand of Aircell.
Great. Now the flight attendants can get back to checking on something that really does impact safety. The seatbelt. The number of times I have had flight attendants tell me to turn my mobile phone, laptop or tablet off, while the lap belt is unfastened is to numerous to count.
In the long run the FAA will rule in favor of the travel public. There will be the usual protests from the Flight Attendants union, citing things like greater passenger distraction, more confusion around the rules from passengers. Someone from Aircell will point out how for many years private planes have not had the same restriction and in the end this will all come to be. Besides, with the limitation on what you can eat, drink or snack on for free so limited, you no longer need the time in the air for that gourmet meal, sparkling service and cheerful conversation that you once had with the flight attendants in years gone by as for the mostpart the airlines don't deliver that any longer except on Virgin America. That's right, they are the airline with the all Wi-Fi fleet and the friendliest flight attendants in the skies. Could it be because of offering a great in-flight experience I fly them more than any other U.S. airline ????
GigaOm's Stacy's Higginbotham has her own take on this too.