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Flight attendants would rather your gadgets stayed switched off

It’s likely that most of us appreciate the recent relaxation in rules covering the use of gadgets on aircraft, but not everyone is happy about the changes. The largest union for flight attendants is going as far as suing the US Federal Aviation Administration to get the ban on using devices during takeoff and landing put back in place.

The news comes courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, which reports that union representatives have a number of concerns about passenger and crew safety. Firstly, allowing the use of gadgets distracts passengers from the safety briefings; secondly, they can easily fly through the air and cause injury during periods of turbulence; and thirdly, they can impede an evacuation procedure or other emergency drill.

Related: Lobbyists don’t want the FCC to reverse its in-flight cellphone call ban

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which has more than 60,000 members, is unhappy that the rules were changed without a formal consultation period, something that the FAA claims was never required for it to issue updated guidance. As Judge Harry T Edwards has already told the union, however, the airlines have always had the final say — which makes it likely that the FAA will win the case.

The issue at hand covers the use of tablets, mobile phones and laptops during takeoff and landing, something that the FAA cleared last October. There’s still a ban on cell phone calls during flights that has been in place since 1991 and is currently being debated by the United States government and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Are you glad that you can fire up your ereader as soon as you step on board an aeroplane? Or would you rather it was stowed away until you’re safely in the air? Let us know in the comments.

[Image via l i g h t p o e t/Shutterstock]