FAA Says Some Electronics Can Now Be Used Throughout Your Flight

Flickr/Jetstar

If you’re tired of shutting off your gadgets during take off and landing (or you’re one of those passengers who surreptitiously leaves them on) then get ready for some good news. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that it is loosening restrictions on the use of electronics in-flight, meaning some devices can now be used the entire time you’re on the plane.

Under the changes, travelers will be able to use e-readers, play games, and watch videos on their portable devices throughout their journey. Bluetooth devices like wireless keyboards can also be used on flights. Cell phones will still face some restrictions, with passengers required to keep them in airplane mode. And as is currently the case, no phone calls will be allowed at any time onboard. The FAA says passengers may be asked to stow some heavier devices during takeoff and landing for safety reasons, but in general, the new rules reflect much more freedom for fliers.The FAA says it came to the decision after receiving input from pilots, electronics manufacturers, and passengers, and that the new rules balance safety with travelers’ increasing appetite to use electronics during flights.

The new rules won’t necessarily apply immediately, and exactly how they’ll be implemented will probably differ from one airline to the next. But the FAA believes most carriers will have the changes in place by the end of the year.

Record Label Accuses Airline Of Ripping Off Britney, JT And Other Artists

music record
Martin Terber, Flickr

Some of the nation’s top singers and musicians are losing out on royalties because airlines are playing their songs without coughing up adequate payment-that’s what Sony Music is claiming in its lawsuit against United Airlines. The record label says the carrier has been playing music by Michael Jackson, Carrie Underwood, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, among others, in breach of copyright.

While it’s standard practice for airlines to make music available to passengers through the inflight entertainment system, Sony is complaining that United is breaching copyright by duplicating sound recordings and music videos and then uploading these illegal copies to servers on its planes.But it’s not just newer music that’s causing a stir. Sony says it isn’t happy that airlines are playing older music by artists like Jimi Hendrix and Aretha Franklin. Copyright laws surrounding music created before the 1970s are a bit hazy, but the record label is going after the airline for that too. Sony wants to stop all the music and is seeking damages from United.

Betty White Stars In Hilarious Air New Zealand Safety Video

Betty White Gavin MacLeod Air New Zealand Safety Video
Photo: Air New Zealand

Look around any flight shortly after boarding and you’ll notice that at least 80 percent of your fellow passengers have their head buried in their newspapers or are busy scrutinizing their iPads. Watching the safety video just isn’t a priority for most travelers, even if it should be.

That’s why Air New Zealand likes to put an entertaining twist on its in-flight safety demonstrations, creating videos that get people watching -– even when they’re not on a plane. Previous videos have included elves, dwarfs and wizards, inspired by the movie, “The Hobbit”; an outdoor video featuring nature survival expert Bear Grylls; and a demonstration of safety techniques by the All Blacks rugby team.The latest Air New Zealand safety video to hit the skies features superstar comedian Betty White. The veteran actor visits the fictional Second Wind Retirement Resort where she presents the airline’s safety tips “Old School Style” thanks to the aid of formerMary Tyler Moore Showco-star Gavin MacLeod and a host of other elderly jokesters. Golf carts, hearing aids, and other retirement village props are used to demonstrate safety techniques. But we don’t want to spoil all the jokes for you. Check out the video for yourself below.

Smiles And Technology Make For Happy Fliers

Joe Kunzler, Flickr

I’ve always found it a little odd that flight attendants still greet passengers, check their boarding pass and direct them to their seats (as though they might get lost between the galley and row 15) – but apparently we rather like that. According to the 2013 North American Airline Satisfaction Survey, passengers who are greeted by smiley airline staff register 211 points higher levels of happiness than those who aren’t.

The study, which polled 11,800 passengers, rated flier satisfaction on a 1,000-point scale. It looked at everything from baggage fees to check-in to boarding processes and in-flight services to figure out just what makes air passengers tick.Overall, budget airlines rated better than traditional carriers when it came to passenger satisfaction.

The things we love the most? Being able to check-in to our flights online. According to the survey, 36 percent of passengers used online check-in and experienced much higher levels of happiness than those who used the main ticket counter at the airport. Travelers using a mobile device to check-in scored even higher. In general, technology seems to be a big winner among air passengers, and using Wi-Fi on flights also gave fliers a dose of good feelings.

Among the factors dragging down passenger happiness were baggage fees, although the survey showed that travelers are slowly becoming accustomed to the extra charges and were less irked by fees than in prior years.

Forgetting To Turn Your Phone Off While Flying Is Pretty Common

Have you ever reached for your phone at the end of a flight to switch it back on and check your messages only to realize you never turned it off in the first place? If so, you’re in good company. Accidentally leaving your digital devices turned on while flying is quite common, according to a new study.

The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and the Consumer Electronics Association released a survey showing that close to 30 percent of travelers have forgotten to turn off their phone, ipad, laptop or other device before taking off.When they do actually remember to power down, many passengers don’t actually turn their electronics all the way off. Around 21 percent of fliers put their phones and tablets into “airplane mode” and five percent sometimes shut down their devices, while 59 percent of travelers did as the airlines asked and turned their electronics completely off.

APEX says that 99 percent of adult fliers travel with some sort of portable electronic device and many want to be able to use it during the whole flying process, including takeoff and landing. The group hopes the results of the survey will help persuade the Federal Aviation Administration to loosen the rules regarding use of electronics while flying.

[Photo credit: Flickr user Global X]