Technology

Mobile Device Use in the Air Not Taking Off

Passengers are still not allowed to text or make cellphone calls. (Matt Slocum/AP)
Passengers are still not allowed to text or make cellphone calls (Matt Slocum/AP)

(USA Today) – The percentage of airline passengers using smartphones, laptops and other personal electronics has barely budged despite a new rule that allows them to stay powered up from takeoff to the time a flight touches down, according to a new report being released Wednesday.

The study, by DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development, found 35.9% of airline passengers were using mobile technology at a given point during the four-month study.

That was only slightly more than the 35.3% of fliers who were tapping into their mobile devices at observed pointsin 2013, during a period before the Federal Aviation Administration began allowing passengers to use electronic devices to play games, listen to music or read from takeoff to landing. That new rule went into effect on Oct. 31, 2013.

Passengers still are not allowed to text or make cellphone calls, though the Federal Communications Commission recently concluded a public comment period on whether to lift the 1991 ban on in-flight cellular service.

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