Security

One-third of airline passengers confess they don't turn off gizmos

May 13, 2013 at 11:23 AM ET

Video: The TODAY anchors chat about the hot topics of the day, including a new study that shows 30 percent of airline passengers forget to turn off their electronics during takeoff and landing, raising questions about whether interference from gadgets is a real concern.

Up to 30 percent of passengers accidentally don't turn off their electronic devices during takeoff and landing, a new study finds.

The study, released by the Airline Passenger Experience Association and the Consumer Electronics Association on Thursday, said 59 percent of travelers reported always turning their devices off when they were asked. Twenty-one percent said they instead switch it to "airplane mode." Five percent said they only sometimes turn off their devices.

Of the travelers who said they accidentally didn't turn their devices off, 61 percent said the gadget was a smartphone.

However, just because they left their gadgets on didn't mean they did so without care. Sixty percent of the passengers surveyed said they were concerned about the potential for interference from gizmos being left on during takeoff and landing.

Even while a majority of the passengers expressed concerns about leaving their devices on, there were also misconceptions about when they can do so. Forty-three percent believed, incorrectly, that they're allowed to use their electronics while taxiing to the runway, 32 percent in the air prior to reaching 10,000 feet, and 26 percent during their flight's final descent.

The report consists of the demographically weighted findings of a telephone survey of 1,629 US adults Dec. 14-18, 2012, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.43 percent.

The industry groups shared their findings with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The results come as the agency reviews its regulations on in-flight electronics use by travelers amid political and passenger pressure to relax those policies.

FAA rules mandate passengers turn electronic devices off below 10,000 feet, except for razors and audio recorders, out of concern the gadgets could affect navigation systems during critical phases of flight.

Video: American Airlines says Alec Baldwin used offensive language and was rude to the flight attendants, which led to him being kicked off the flight. But once again it's got people asking: could my iPad really bring down a passenger plane? NBC’s Tom Costello reports.


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