I made it home, but there was not much doubt. Air travel seems to be safe. But how safe is safe enough? Before I left Spain I watched yet another episode of Mythbusters. This one was trying to tackle the idea that cell phones and other devices have the potential to harm or disrupt the electronic systems that aircraft depend upon for safe operation. They found no evidence of disruption, however they did place a disclaimer that it’s best not to take any chances. I agree with their assessment except the disclaimer. No I am not an expert, however, I can see that by the enforcement of the rules that the airlines don’t believe there is a hazard either.
If there was a hazard, the airlines would not leave it up to the passengers to follow the rules. The TSA doesn’t trust us not to bring hazardous substance or tools on an aircraft, that’s why they have screening, x-ray machines, body scanners, and make you take off your shoes. But they trust all the passengers to turn off their electronic devices during take off and landings. Even teenagers. Have you ever tried to tell a teenager to turn off their i-Pod?
To me this just proves that they are not serious, thus there is no hazard.
But I, like most people, put up with the spiel and do what the flight attendants asked us to do. I think people follow these requests mostly out of fear. Not out of fear that they may cause the plane to crash due to a session on Angry Birds during takeoff, but because of a fear over more unreasonably strict rules.