What I know does not necessarily influence how I feel. For instance, I know that the FAA decision to allow use of personal electronic devices “during all phases of flights” is something I should not worry about. If experts have determined that there is nothing wrong in allowing it then I see no reason not to accept it. Still, being a nervous flyer, I am not very happy with it.
Early this year, I had an unfortunate experience of being seated next to a guy who was talking on his cellphone before, during, and a little bit after take-off. Observing him gave me the impression that it was not the first time he has done it. He was quite adept at hiding the cell phone when the flight attendant did the last walk-through/check before take-off. It was not a happy sight for someone like me who has a fear of flying. I really would have preferred not seeing him do it so I can continue naively believing that people actually follow airline rules.
The trouble with having an irrational fear is that you have no choice but to endure. Because it is even more irrational to expect others to suffer restrictions that make nervous flyers like me feel at least a little better. But to paraphrase a line in Spiderman, with perks and conveniences come great responsibility. I will just hope that every flyer would be responsible in ensuring everyone’s safety. That this freedom to use PEDs will not be misconstrued or abused by those who disregard the rules for whatever reason.
I trust that experts have good reasons to allow this expanded use of PEDs on flights. But the caveats should be clear to all flyers, especially the one that states that “cell phones may not be used for voice communications”. Because like Jim Tilmon said, “People don’t understand why they can’t use their cell phones. Well, what can happen is 12 people will decide to call someone just before landing, and I can get a false reading on my instruments saying that we are higher than we really are.”