How Will New Rules Affect In-Flight Gaming?

It's not a petty concern. Since Friday's incident en route to Detroit, airlines are ramping up security procedures at the behest of the government, and "approved portable electronic devices" have long been a whipping boy for this sort of thing.

Unfortunately, it sounds like they'll be verboten for international flights inbound to the U.S. While the Transportation Security Administration has issued no formal rules (and, in fact, is being deliberately vague about them) Gizmodo and several other sources are reporting the ban as fact.

Another key detail: for international flights inbound to the U.S., passengers will have to remain in their seats for the last hour of a flight, without access to their carry-on baggage (above or underneath a seat) and without any personal items on their laps. So, better pee up before that final hour, and make sure you're at a good stopping point in Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines.

It's also unclear how this affects travel within the U.S., but you can bet it will, beginning with long lines as screeners tighten their focus. Other measures either reported or expected include the aforementioned no cabin travel for the last hour of a flight; keeping the cabin lights on for the entire trip; disabling the display of a flight's progress in the seatback monitors offered on some planes; and generally making sure you resent the experience from check-in to baggage claim.

As there are a ton of variables in play here, for U.S. flights and for those in other countries, and as plenty of folks are flying either today or tomorrow - or this time next week - returning from holiday travels, we're opening up a comment thread here to report what you've seen. Especially as it relates to the use of electronic devices. Flying is such an unpleasant process these days, laptops, handhelds and DVD players have become almost indispensable for their diversionary qualities. Plus, some are still under the illusion they can get work done midair.


    Unfortunately this is something that people will just have to put up with, it’s a shame that travelling by plane is in the state that it is, but the alternative is people blowing up on Christmas day, so I’ll gladly sit in my seat for the final hour and wait longer in lines if it means people are safe.

      But there's the kicker, how does it _really_ make people safer. It just gives the illusion to the public that the airlines are doing something to make them safer. Are they going to monitor every single person on board to ensure they don't reach down and get something out of their bag in that last hour - a terrorist isn't exactly worried about following rules. And that's ignoring the fact that as Owen points out what's stopping them from blowing the plane up 61 minutes out. Wouldn't it be more useful to stop people getting explosives on board in the first place?

    How about we just shoot all passengers and throw their corpses in the hold. That'll solve all our travel safety problems!

    It seems to me that this sort of crackdown usually doesn't actually improve security that much; however, it does improve the public's perception of security, and I tend to think that's more the point. Society wants this not to happen again, so the airlines do something that may prevent exactly this series of events from happening, but doesn't really lower the risk of terrorism as a whole. It's just like after the shoe bomber, when they made folks get their shoes scanned - a bit of a kneejerk.

    A fanatically motivated individual will always find a way around precautions if they are given enough time. I think that lone heroes like the dude who crash tackled this terrorist are still going to do most of the terrorist catching if these guys make it as far as the plane - they won't be foiled simply by being unable to get their baggage out.

    As much as it'll be annoying next time I fly, I can't say it's unnecessary. As Andrew pointed out, if the alternative is a crash, then it's a much better option.

    However, if we're going to be banned from using our own media players during flights, then perhaps the in-flight entertainment should be better. I certainly wouldn't mind not using my laptop if I could plug a USB stick in and watch a movie on my screen.

    When authorities react to terrorist threats by removing the liberty of everyone else, then aren't the terrorists winning? By the authorities reacting the way they always do, the terrorists have achieved their objective of instilling fear into us and thereby making our lives crapper.

    Security screening needs to be done, for sure, but treating every single person as a potential terrorist is ridiculous.

      Also the authorities need to investigate how this recent threat happened, i.e. how the guy got fireworks onto the plane on to the first place, and correct that issue. They need to find and correct the actual problem, rather than wrecking travel for everyone.

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