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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Most U.S. Flyers Brought Portable Electronic Devices on Planes in the Last Year, Nearly 30 Percent Accidently Left Them Turned On


 Ninety-nine percent of adult airline passengers who travel with a portable electronic device (PED) – such as a smartphone or tablet – carried at least one PED onboard with them while traveling in the past 12 months, with seven in ten (69 percent) reporting they used their devices during flight, according to a new joint study released today by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. The study, Portable Electronic Devices on Aircraft, gauges consumer usage and awareness concerning PEDs on airplanes. The results of this study have been shared with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as it reviews its policies for inflight PED use.

“Airline passengers have come to rely on their smartphones, tablets and e-readers as essential travel companions,” said Doug Johnson, vice president, technology policy, CEA. “Understanding the attitudes and behaviors of passengers that are using electronic devices while traveling will help the FAA make informed decisions.”

Almost one-third (30 percent) of passengers report they have accidently left a PED turned on during a flight. The study found that when asked to turn off their electronic devices, 59 percent of passengers say they always turn their devices completely off, 21 percent of passengers say they switch their devices to “airplane mode,” and five percent say they sometimes turn their devices completely off. Of those passengers who accidently left their PED turned on in-flight, 61 percent said the device was a smartphone.

“This study showed us that most travelers are using their PEDs as often as possible while traveling, and many would like even more opportunities to use their devices” said Russell A. Lemieux, APEX executive director.  Four in 10 passengers would like to use their devices during all phases of flight, including take-off and landing, according to the survey.  “The data in the study reveals important insights into actual passenger behavior, which we hope the FAA will find useful as it deliberates on this issue,” Lemieux said.

According to the APEX/CEA study, the most commonly used PED during flights are smartphones (28 percent); laptop computers (25 percent); tablets (23 percent); digital audio or MP3 players (23 percent); and e-readers (13 percent).
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) formed a Portable Electronic Devices Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PED ARC) with representatives from the airlines, along with pilots, flight attendants, electronics and avionics manufactures. Representatives from the FAA, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) were also included on the committee. The PED ARC is tasked with making recommendations by July 2013 on expansion of PED use while maintaining the highest levels of safety for the passengers and without compromising the continued safe operation of aircrafts.
Portable Electronic Devices on Aircraft (2013) was conducted between December 14–18, 2012. The study was designed and formulated jointly by Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Please cite any information to the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. The complete study is available free to APEX members here and CEA member companies at members.CE.org.