APEX/CEA-hosted panel explores infight electronics issue
Jan. 16, 2013, Las Vegas, Nv. - U.S. airlines and vendor companies could benefit from easing government restrictions on use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) inflight – rules that affect both local airlines and international carriers traveling within the United States – a panel of industry experts said.
The panel, representing various industry interests, met at the International CES 2013 in Las Vegas, Nev., USA, to pick apart a policy that has long restricted the use of PEDs on aircraft in the United States and is currently under review by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) working group.
More than 70 people attended the 10 January panel discussion, hosted by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).
Government regulations have been a hot topic in the airline industry in recent months as U.S. officials have begun to review existing policy to determine whether to make any changes with respect to PED use inflight. The panelists, as well as many audience members, largely favored the looser restrictions that exist in other regions in the world.
In many cases, it’s a matter of regulators keeping up with inevitable trends, said panelist Patrick Brannelly, vice president of Corporate Communications, Product, Publishing, Digital & Events at Emirates Airlines.
“It think it’s an absolute reality that people are going to have devices switched on in the future, and it’s going to happen more and more,” he said. “The kind of connected devices isn’t just phones; you may walk on the aircraft with four or five devices that are somehow attached, and it’s up to the industry quickly to ensure that regulation that is common sense is put in place.”
Panelist Paul Misener, vice president for Global Public Policy at Amazon.com, said Amazon customers recently were polled regarding FAA regulations. Results showed that flyers are frustrated and skeptical about suggestions that devices could interfere with airplane functions.
“They’ve been observing that other passengers – they never say themselves – but other passengers are keeping their PEDs on at all phases of flight,” he said. “And they’re rightfully wondering why planes aren’t coming down if this truly is a problem.”
The panel was moderated by Jonathan Norris, executive director, APEX Media Platform. Other panelists included Pal Bjordal, president & CEO of AeroMobile; and Captain Derek Spicer, senior training captain.