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Finally, Flight Attendants Can Stop Being “Hall Monitors.”

Posted by Peter Post  November 5, 2013 07:00 AM

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"We're frankly tired of feeling like 'hall monitors' when it comes to this issue," Laura Glading, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, said in an article titled “FAA loosens rules for electronic devices during flights” in USA Today on November 1.

I’ve often wondered how the flight attendants felt about having to enforce what was a seemingly foolish directive. It’s readily apparent that the devices don’t affect the aircraft in flight. All one had to do was look around at nearby passengers and see how many devices were simply closed rather than shut down to realize planes have been flying safely with devices turned on for years.

I applaud this common sense change. The next step is for the airlines to certify that their planes will not be affected by devices being on, and I’m pleased airlines are moving quickly to get FAA acquiescence to change their in-flight passenger directives, and let people use their devices throughout the flight.

Along with privilege comes responsibility: responsibility on the passengers’ part to use their devices in a manner that does not negatively impact those around them. Here are four guidelines to make your use of your electronic device pleasant not only for you but also for your fellow passengers.

  1. Make sure content on your device won’t offend your seatmates or passengers walking up the aisle who may see your screen.
  2. Be careful about showing confidential information on your screen. You should assume the people next to you and near you can see anything on your screen.
  3. Use ear buds or headphones to listen to a show, movie, or music.
  4. Put your device down while the cabin crew makes its safety announcement at the beginning of the flight and take a moment to identify your closest emergency exit. That one moment of precaution could save your life.
I hope this FAA rules change will make the flight attendants’ jobs just a little easier. They already have plenty to do to make the journey safe and pleasant without having to be hall monitors, too.
This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Since 2004, Peter Post has tackled readers' questions in The Boston Sunday Globe's weekly business etiquette advice column, Etiquette at Work. Post is the co-author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business" and conducts business etiquette seminars across the country. In October 2003 his book "Essential Manners For Men" was released and quickly became a New York Times best seller. He is also the author of "Essential Manners for Couples," "Playing Through–A Guide to the Unwritten Rules of Golf," and co-author of "A Wedding Like No Other." Post is Emily Post's great-grandson. His media appearances include "CBS Sunday Morning," CBS's "The Early Show," NBC's "Today," ABC's "Good Morning America," and "Fox News."

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