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E-Readers on Airplanes April 28, 2011

Posted by Peter Varhol in Software platforms.

I’ve noticed that at least one search a day ends up on my blog seeking information about using e-readers on airplanes, so I thought I’d write a post with just the facts.  E-readers are treated like any other electronic device on a commercial airliner, as long as you turn off the transmitter (wi-fi and/or 3G).  That means you have to turn it off completely when the flight attendants announce that electronic gear must be turned off.

From a practical standpoint, the flight crew won’t enforce the rule until the boarding door is closed and cell phones are required to be turned off.

Electronic gear can be used again once the airplane crosses 10,000 feet, as long as it doesn’t transmit or receive, so you can start up your e-reader again at this time.  It has to be shut down upon descending through 10,000 feet, and an announcement will be made in the cabin to turn off electronic devices.

If you read a lot like me, you might still bring a paper book with you for taxi, takeoff, and touchdown, as the total time the e-reader isn’t permitted can easily be an hour or more.

If your e-reader has wi-fi, some aircraft (including just about all mainline aircraft in the Delta fleet) offer the service for a fee, and you can turn it back on during level flight.  However, 3G is never allowed during flight.  I don’t really recommend using the aircraft wi-fi on an e-reader if all you are doing is downloading books, but it might make sense if you use your e-reader more like a tablet computer.

Some mainline aircraft have power connectors on the floor in first class and the front of coach, but the typical charge on an e-reader can last for days, so power shouldn’t be a consideration.

While this is correct for US carriers, foreign carriers may have different rules while operating outside of the US, so your mileage may vary.



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