Flying into the 21st Century

Ideas and Issues

Little Rock   For a change in 2013 I haven’t flown much this year yet.  I’ve driven several thousand miles out of town, and my truck is stuck out in western Pulaski County past Little Rock, Arkansas, waiting for me to find a new starter and make it go for tomorrow.  Nonetheless, I haven’t missed it.

Reading the news about TSTA allowing small knives back in the air, I wasn’t sure what to make of that.  Sure I’ve lost a Swiss Army knife or two, but there’s always a price for being stupid.  On the whole I’ve never felt too put out because I couldn’t get my hands on a knife while flying.  Yes, the pilots are locked down now, and thank goodness if you went to the movies and saw Denzel Washington in Flight, because it turns out we don’t want to watch our pilots any too closely.  I’m sort of rooting for the flight attendants union on this one.  Why give some of the drunken passengers a 3 inch knife, if you don’t have too?

On the other hand I was delighted to hear that finally the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) was coming into the 21st century and embracing some transparency and seems about prepared to concede that electronic devices, especially on “airplane mode,” do not interfere with the pilot landing.  I have seen some passengers and crew go almost apoplectic trying to get some wheeler-dealer business guy or a love struck teen off of their blackberries and text machines before landing or takeoff.  I’ve shown my Kindle to many an attendant and pointed out that there was no wireless or the wireless was off, so it was hardly a danger anymore than a book would be, though some of the books out there are perilous if read carefully.

It is in the interest of passenger and airline safety to keep the unruly passengers now herded like cattle by the airlines down narrower and narrower chutes in their individual seat pens subdued with Kindles, smartphones, i-things, etc, rather than leave them in close quarters with their pituitary glands expanding angrily as we watch because the FAA wants to make up something about electronics.  What the heck?  Let our flyers read!