Back to Squawk list
  • 24

Why You Can't Read a Kindle During Take-Off—4 Theories

Thanks to the scores of people who have responded overnight to my item saying that the airline insistence that "any device with an On-Off switch must be switched OFF" was another installment of security theater. I'll try to digest and respond to some of them later on. For now, a few sample messages representing the main schools of thought. ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

canuck44 0
Actually there is a fifth reason and the prime reason these regs that will not and cannot go away and it has to do with security. Almost any electronic program and/or malicious interference can be buried within a laptop or cell phone. We cannot count on the TSA slugs to find grenades and handguns let alone communications blockers, GPS altering transmissions. FAA and airline communications, etc.

The compromise is to shut them all down during the two most critical phases of flight. Individuals with malicious intent can be more sophisticated than bringing on box cutters etc. Most of us need to remember this when we pass the short school bus graduates currently providing "security", sexual harassment and non-racial profiling in our terminals.
Chris Bryant 0
I always think of it as an extension of the "sterile cockpit" rule. Nothing but flying the airplane below 10,000'. If it's good for the guys up front, it should be good for us in the back. Takeoff and landing are the most critical phases of flight, and that's when most things that can go wrong will go wrong. Even as a PAX, I find myself paying attention out the window, looking to see the flaps & slats go down (or are down before t/o), listening and feeling for the gear extension/retraction, etc.
alistairm 0
I like your explanation John. In the end, it is just a matter of, "better be safe than sorry". When i flew not long after 9/11, i was told to turn on all of my electronic devices before boarding the plane. I suppose if any were a bomb, we would all been killed. I just can't wrap my head around the fact that some people find it so difficult to turn off their devices when asked to.I swear to God, i wish it was the 80's again.
Marcus Pradel 0
I'm amazed at how much everybody appreciates a False sense of security.
This is not an argument of whether we should not follow the rules.. but:

If someone intended to disrupt the GPS or NAV or Comm signals, it could just as well be done from a briefcase in the overhead compartment.
alistairm 0
...or form a suitcase in the cargo hold or from some device built into a pair of shoes or.... and i can go on. Therefore, we all know that it can be done in many ways. Let's hope it never happens at the cost of lives. A false sense of security? I believe everyone carries that notion around with them. Anyone, including you, can just drop dead at anytime. But because we think we are young, fit, eat right, etc. it will not happen to us. That is a false sense of security as well. There are many more examples. Look into Chaos Theory and you will then see how small things can have astronomical outcomes.
canuck44 0
Most of TSA provides false security, but if one makes the argument that even one potential incident can be prevented the mindset of the bureaucrats will be set in stone (think Global Warming) and it will be used to expand their numbers and their nanny statism. Parkinson's Laws state that bureaucracies expand geometrically not arithmetically.

I don't to claim they are correct and can testify to their ineptness; I have extensive experience cleaning up after them.
alistairm 0
Mmmmm, i do agree with what you have said. If "the people" feel safe as a result of the "supposed" actions of a government agency, then the government can justify the expenditure on the agency and even expand it. I must say though John, that the TSA was formed quite rapidly after 9/11 - in about 2 months. Can you shed some light on this?
canuck44 0
TSA was the federalization of Airport Security (and Air Marshals) after 9-11 taking over mainly from Private Contractors at individual airports and placement within the Department of Homeland Security formed as the umbrella organization at the expense of the Department of Transportation. Prior to that the Feds provided standards and some audit functions. After it became administered on the Chinese Army Throw People at It management program with the motto "Why hire one person to do the job when four civil servants can almost get it done". Training resembled my days in the Canadian Navy...three week courses compressed into six months.
cliffx 0
I thought it was the same reason they want your tray's and seats in the upright position and your junk stored safely under the seat for takeoff and landing, why do they request this?

In case an evacuation is necessary, you don't have a whole bunch of electronic junk, headphones, books, magazines, etc in the way and preventing people from paying attention to instructions given by the flight crew when every second counts.

Do you want to be delayed getting off a plane in an emergency by an ipod/phone listening, kindle/book reading numpty? Didn't think so.


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.