Skift Take

The FAA does need to update its guidelines for use of electronic devices on airplanes, but in the realm of what's important, flyers have other issues they're worried about.

In late September a committee of experts from airlines and technology companies presented a series of recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration about how passengers should be able to use their personal electronic devices on a plane. Although not officially released yet, the committee’s work is expected to recommend removing most restrictions on device usage. (This does not include the used of cellular calls while in-flight, which is retulated by the Federal Communications Commission.)

While the FAA has stated it wants to move quickly on the issue, the government shutdown began merely hours after the committee handed in its recommendations, and the agency will not begin working on the matter until it ends.

Whether a flyer is merely trying to finish a chapter on her e-reader or a wrap up a game like Alec Baldwin, conventional wisdom holds that flyers are plain fed up with the regulations.

Amazon spokesperson, Drew Herdener told Skift, “We’ve been fighting for our customers on this issue for years – testing an airplane packed full of Kindles, working with the FAA, and serving as the device manufacturer on this committee. This is a big win for customers and, frankly, it’s about time.” Amazon has a representative on the FAA’s advisory committee.

Skift decided to use the lull to ask passengers if, like the New York Times‘ tech writer Nick Bilton, they were bothered at being asked to turn off an electronic device at some point in their flight.

Important: The survey is not done on Skift readers but the general U.S. internet adult population through Google Consumer Surveys. See previous Skift Asks here.

The question we asked people was “When you are on a flight, does it bother you that you are asked to turn off your electronic device(s) for a portion of the flight?”

Nearly 57% of all respondents answered, “No,” and less than a quarter of people answered “Yes” — only 7% more than answered “I don’t fly.” There are another 4.6% who keep matters simple: They don’t fly with electronic devices.

This single-question survey was administered to the U.S. internet population from Sept. 27-Oct. 4, 2013 through Google Consumer Surveys, with 1,506 responses, weighted down to 1,101. The methodology is explained here.

The headline takeaway: The majority of people flying on airplanes do not care that they’re asked to turn off their electronics for a portion of a flight.

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The takeaway: More men fly than women, but both groups are, by a majority, not bothered by being asked to turn off a device.

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The takeaway: Kids these days are less happy than other age groups about being asked to stop texting, listening to music, and going over old email. Still, more of them don’t mind than mind.

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The takeaway: Midwesterners are much less likely to be bothered by requests than any other group in the U.S.

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The takeaway: Rural groups, which fly less often and have fewer electronic devices than other groups, are the most likely to be bothered by requests to turn off their devices while flying.

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The takeaway: Very rich people just hate being told what to do, but pretty rich people deal with it better than any other group.

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Read More Skift Asks Surveys About Air Travel

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Tags: faa, in-flight, skiftasks, smartphones, tablets

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