Flight Attendants sue FAA to get electronics ban reinstated on takeoffs and landings
The FAA is being represented by Justice Department lawyers, and it is their contention that the smaller electronic gadgets held in passengers' hands, are not covered by the aforementioned federal regulations. Both sides argued in front of a three judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Last Halloween, the FAA removed its ban against the use of cellphones and tablets "gate to gate". From that point on, passengers were allowed to use their handsets and slates during takeoffs and landings as long as they were set on Airplane Mode, cutting off any cellular connections.
But the flight attendants are complaining that passengers aren't paying attention to the emergency announcements made by them, prior to takeoff. These announcements traditionally point out the emergency exits on board a flight, discuss flotation devices on flights over water, and explain how to use the oxygen masks in case of a severe loss of cabin pressure. There is also a concern that the devices could make it hard for passengers to quickly leave the aircraft in case of an emergency. And in at least one case, a tablet became a dangerous projectile, flying across the cabin.
Amanda Duré, one of the attorneys for the the flight attendants, said that her clients would agree to a ruling that would allow the gadgets to be turned on during takeoff and landing, as long as they are stowed away. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA is arguing that the FAA needed a formal rule change to remove the ban, instead of the guidance it issued, which paved the way for the passengers to use their gadgets during takeoffs and landings. The Justice Department of course, disagrees.