Published on Monday, October 13, 2014

Flight attendants fail in bid to reinstate mobile phone ban

The largest flight attendant union in the US has had its bid to reinstate the ban on mobile phones and electronics during takeoffs and landings rejected.

A lawyer for the union argued before a three-judge panel that aviation officials acted improperly last year when it cleared passengers to use small electronics during takeoffs and landings.

The Association of Flight Attendants said the devices can distract passengers from safety announcements and become dangerous projectiles.

AFA lawyer Amanda Dure argued that the change violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act.

The act requires government agencies to give the public notice and the ability to comment.

But the FAA said it did request and receive public feedback before updating its guidance.

Judge Harry T Edwards said: "Airlines have always had discretion on how to handle this."

Under new guidance, the FAA says that airlines can let passengers use the devices during those times as long as the plane is properly protected from electronic interference and the airlines get the FAA's approval.

Mobile phones must still be in airplane mode when in use.

The FAA says that since the announcement, it has cleared 31 airline operators to let passengers use small electronics on takeoffs and landings.

Last year, those operators together carried 96% of US commercial passengers.

The court will issue a written ruling at a later date.

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