Sure, business travelers will insist that they benefit most from the FAA’s announcement today to allow the use of most electronic devices. They’ll say they now can work uninterrupted from the moment they sit down on the plane. That productivity will increase.
In my book, nobody wins more than moms and dads who travel with young kids.
If you’ve ever flown with your little ones, you know that the most difficult parts of every flight with youngsters are the take-off and landing—the parts of the flight that wreak havoc on tiny eardrums. These are the 20 minutes (10 on the front end, 10 on the back end) when electronic devices previously had been banned.
In our family, we have referred to these periods as the “Quiet Zones.” Fittingly, on last week’s flight home from Ireland, L and I had a pointed conversation about why we passengers couldn’t use devices during those stretches. The conversation went something like this.
L: “Daddy, can we please read a Kindle book?”
Me: “We can, honey, but we have to wait until the plane takes off and gets to a certain point in the sky.”
Me: “Well, because that’s what the pilot says.”
L: “But why?”
Me: “To be completely honest, honey, I don’t know. The pilot says that’s the way it is on his plane, so we have to follow the rules.”
L: “The pilot’s rules are stupid, Daddy.”
She was right, of course. I’ve always thought the rules were stupid, too.
Now, thankfully, we parents can pull out all the stops to distract our traveling partners. Kindle books. Smartphone games (like this one). Digital doodlers. Even the iPads.
So, from the bottom of my heart, thanks to you, Federal Aviation Administration, for finally ending one of the dumbest and senseless in-flight policies in recent memory. It’s a great day for us family travelers (and all travelers, for that matter). And it’s about f-ing time.