Rejoice! Airplane Phone Ban Reversal Means Life-or-Death Texts Can Be Sent During Take-Off

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Person Holding a Business Phone

You’re waiting patiently as your cross-country redeye flight taxis out to the runway. You get a farewell text from your significant other/current obsession and the impulse to recount every detail of your boarding experience kicks in. You flirt heavily, like exercise, because holy hell, will this flight ever take off? and it’s fun and distracting and why not. Then all of a sudden, as you get to the part about the sleeping man who keeps leaning on to your shoulder, the flight attendants signal (and scream at you) that it’s time to put all electronics away. EMERGECNY: You’re about to hit a five hour signal dead zone and now you’re being forced to terminate a conversation without an actual conclusion.

Good news to anyone who has encountered the above scenario: After over two decades of what has been regularly deemed a useless rule, the Federal Aviation Administration has lifted the ban on electronics usage during those last minute moments before flights. Little do they realize how many relationship arguments they have likely averted.

The FAA has banned cell phone and other mobile devices since the early ’90s, fearing that use during takeoff and landing could interfere the plane’s systems. Despite investigations proving the contrary, the rule was continued because it just felt right. But no more! In a press release, the FAA announced that the ban was overturned, “based on input from the PED Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) which concluded that most commercial airplanes can tolerate radio interference signals from PEDs.”


The government organization states that rollout process of the reversed rule will vary among airlines, but that they expect airlines to allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of 2013. They still continue to suggest turning your phone to “airplane” or “off” modes during the flight, because signal is still crap while airborne. Sorry, your flirting can’t continue forever.

Matt Patches is a writer and reporter living in New York City. His work has been featured on Vulture, Time Out New York, and The Hollywood Reporter. He is the host of the pop culture podcast Operation Kino.