Industry experts say it does not make sense for airlines to change the rules now.
Though the Federal Aviation Administrated is now looking into allowing gadgets during take-off and landing, flyers shouldn't get their hopes up. Because of recent complaining about the arbitrariness of the rule, largely championed by The New York Times' Nick Bilton, the FAA has been more open to changing the standard. The organization has started its own testing, and asked for public comment at the end of last month. Yet, this process will take "until the next millennium,"sighed Bilton in his New York Times column this weekend. Each version of each tablet has to get the OK on an empty flight for each type of plane before it can pass. With the current state of tablet iteration and the various plane types out there, that's a lot of tests. "With individual testing needed for every version of every electronic device out there, it’s practically impossible for an airline to take on the testing independently," Abby Lunardini, vice president of corporate communications at Virgin America told Bilton. Even with help from the FAA, the effort sounds futile with the current rate of tablet release -- in the last seven days, we saw a handful of a new ones from Amazon, plus today Toys R Us just announced its own kid tablet.
No matter the outcome of these tests, it still doesn't make much sense for the airline industry to change the rules, as The Wall Street Journal's Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris discovered. After conducting a 492-person survey of gadget use during these verboten minutes, Simons and Chabris wrote, "The odds that all 78 of the passengers who travel on an average-size U.S. domestic flight have properly turned off their phones are infinitesimal."