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Tuesday, October 21, 2014         

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In-flight electronics remain divisive

By McClatchy News Services

POSTED:



If you are itching to switch on your iPad or Kindle reader while your plane taxis for takeoff, you are going to have to wait at least a little longer.

A panel assembled by the Federal Aviation Administration to consider relaxing the rules on using portable electronic devices on airplanes has asked for more time to come up with its recommendations.

The panel — made up of representatives from airlines, aircraft builders and electronics firms, as well as pilots, flight attendants and others — was scheduled to produce a recommendation by Wednesday. Instead, it has asked to continue deliberations until Sept. 30.

If the panel is having trouble reaching a consensus, that wouldn't be surprising. The comments submitted to the group show that Americans overall are split on the subject.

Rich Santoriello of Raleigh, N.C., commented in favor of easing the rules that prohibit using electronic devices during takeoffs and landings.

"I would like to use my iPad during takeoff and landing while it is in airplane mode and not emitting any signals," he wrote. "I'm sorry, I just do not see the harm in these devices, especially with the sophisticated electronics we have in aircraft today."

Travelers who want to keep the restrictions in place pointed to issues of safety and courtesy.

"Allowing portable electronic devices to be used on the plane will make passengers less likely to listen to safety instructions, and rather than helping out in case of an emergency, there will be someone updating their Facebook status as ‘losing cabin pressure,'" wrote Molly Major of Minot, N.D.

Hotel scores get an upgrade

The investments that many hotels made to upgrade their properties after the Great Recession are starting to pay off.

Overall hotel guest satisfaction, measured on a 1,000-point scale, jumped 20 points since 2012 to an average of 777, according to the latest J.D. Power & Associates study of guests' satisfaction with North American hotels.

Experts say the latest scores, the highest marks in seven years, are a response to upgrades and remodeling projects done by hotels to entice guests back after the financial crisis.

--Hugo Martin / Los Angeles Times






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