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United Tablet use after doors close, prior to 10,000 feet?

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Old Sep 13, 17, 8:45 pm
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United Tablet use after doors close, prior to 10,000 feet?

I currently have a Macbook Pro (2016) and an iPad Pro 12 inch. On United, I've never had any issues using the iPad Pro whist taxing. The Flight attendants never give it a second look.

I'm about to be issued an HP Tablet (Elite X2 - similar to a MS Surface) through work and am curious on what your experiences have been?
  • Have you had any issues using your Windows based tablets during this portion of the flight?
  • Do you use it with or without the keyboard during this part of the flight?

Last edited by LordHamster; Sep 15, 17 at 3:26 pm
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Old Sep 13, 17, 8:55 pm
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I have had them tell me on several occasions to put my iPad pro away when i had the keyboard out typing on my leg. I fold the keyboard up and all but one time they never said another word. One time I had to detach the keyboard and slide it under the seat in order for her to go away.

Based on other observations the difference between a pad and a laptop seems to be an attached keyboard.

Of course my sample size is insignificant and YMMV
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Old Sep 13, 17, 9:50 pm
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I believe the cutoff is officially two pounds. The 12" iPad is just under 1.6lbs so adding a keyboard would put it over.

That said, the flight attendants can't weigh everyone's tablet. The keyboard/no-keyboard line is what most will likely go with but the 12.9" iPad in a case without a keyboard might be too much for some.
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Old Sep 13, 17, 9:56 pm
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I have a yoga. When told to put it away, I flip it into the tablet mode and say "it's a tablet" and they go away.
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Old Sep 13, 17, 10:35 pm
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Everything is OK until when there is an incident when these flying objects kill or severely injure someone (read the news reports about the Amtrak crash around PHL). Or, a cabinful of huge handheld devices slow down evacuation and get people killed.

To me, it should not be about "how can I interpret the rule or fool the FA so it works for me". It should be more about doing the sensible thing in case there is a problem to not kill people.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 2:08 am
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I’ve always used my iPad as my main device on a plane, never had any problem.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 7:03 am
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Originally Posted by username View Post
Everything is OK until when there is an incident when these flying objects kill or severely injure someone (read the news reports about the Amtrak crash around PHL). Or, a cabinful of huge handheld devices slow down evacuation and get people killed.

To me, it should not be about "how can I interpret the rule or fool the FA so it works for me". It should be more about doing the sensible thing in case there is a problem to not kill people.
the airline tells me it is safe to use small electronics such as phones and tablets. Presumably the FAA did their research before allowing for this. I already use an iPad Pro, I don't see how having a device of the same form-factor with a different operating system would be any more or less dangerous. My question is purely in how these devices are "seen."

Clearly an iPad and a surface are nearly identical in appearance, function and construction... but one may be arbitrarily singled out by FAs.

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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 14, 17 at 3:16 pm Reason: snarky comment removed
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Old Sep 14, 17, 7:10 am
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They don't know the difference. A tablet is a tablet. Add a keyboard and they'll think its a laptop.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 7:49 am
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Originally Posted by drew in the air View Post
They don't know the difference. A tablet is a tablet. Add a keyboard and they'll think its a laptop.
Exactly, put away the keyboard and you'll be OK.

As for safety, I doubt there is much research on how having a tablet vs a laptop affects things. They wanted to draw a line somewhere.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 8:00 am
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Originally Posted by username View Post
Everything is OK until when there is an incident when these flying objects kill or severely injure someone (read the news reports about the Amtrak crash around PHL). Or, a cabinful of huge handheld devices slow down evacuation and get people killed.

To me, it should not be about "how can I interpret the rule or fool the FA so it works for me". It should be more about doing the sensible thing in case there is a problem to not kill people.
Almost all cases of airplane accidents are catastrophic, so you'd never know if these flying objects were the actual cause of death. And people taking their carry-ons, blocked exits, and smoke likely contribute far more to slow evacuations than people taking tablets ever will.

Not to mention the ever-increasing numbers of low-mobility people who are allowed to fly. Almost all flights these days include several wheelchair-bound or extremely slow moving elders. An evacuation is going to be slowed far more by these people trying to exit than tablets ever will.

I'd postulate that if the worry is safety and "what if" in case of an incident, there are dozens of worry points that are higher priority than whether a particular piece of electronics is a tablet or a laptop.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 10:11 am
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Originally Posted by flyerbaby19 View Post
I have a yoga. When told to put it away, I flip it into the tablet mode and say "it's a tablet" and they go away.
Why did I never think of this?
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Old Sep 14, 17, 1:18 pm
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Originally Posted by DenverBrian View Post
Almost all cases of airplane accidents are catastrophic, so you'd never know if these flying objects were the actual cause of death. And people taking their carry-ons, blocked exits, and smoke likely contribute far more to slow evacuations than people taking tablets ever will.

Not to mention the ever-increasing numbers of low-mobility people who are allowed to fly. Almost all flights these days include several wheelchair-bound or extremely slow moving elders. An evacuation is going to be slowed far more by these people trying to exit than tablets ever will.

I'd postulate that if the worry is safety and "what if" in case of an incident, there are dozens of worry points that are higher priority than whether a particular piece of electronics is a tablet or a laptop.
1) Depending on your definition of "accident", that first statement is simply not true. Not all accidents are crashes, and even if we limit the definition to crashes, a lot of them have survivors.

2) The safety concern has less to do with evacuation, and more to do with a heavy object flying around and knocking into people's heads.

3) Generally speaking, laptops are heavier than tablets. Generally speaking, heavier objects are more likely to do damage when getting tossed around. FAs can't start policing every single one of the items individually, nor can the FAA amend its policy every time a new type of computer/phone/tablet hybrid hits the market.

The line had to be drawn somewhere. Phones are lightweight, laptops are (mostly) heavy, and the tablet is somewhere in between. I'm glad that the line was drawn so that tablets are allowed, as opposed to banning everything except for phones.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 1:58 pm
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Originally Posted by itsMoe View Post
...
The line had to be drawn somewhere. Phones are lightweight, laptops are (mostly) heavy, and the tablet is somewhere in between. I'm glad that the line was drawn so that tablets are allowed, as opposed to banning everything except for phones.
Also, this rule has been around for a while now. Back then, most laptops were clearly larger than tablets. Not too many tablets came with keyboards unless you specifically bought one.

These days, there are laptops that are lighter than some tablets. We have tablets with keyboards and the line between laptop and tablets have become blurred which ofcourse creates this issue. Plus if you go by weight, I'm sure there are many books that are heavier than tablets and laptops these days.
I'm sure the FAA and airlines will get around to updating their rules to match the times in a few decades.

The rule I really don't understand is why chargers have to be unplugged. Relatively speaking these are far lighter and pose less of an obstruction if any at all. But that's probably a debate for another thread
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Old Sep 14, 17, 2:12 pm
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Originally Posted by eng3 View Post
The rule I really don't understand is why chargers have to be unplugged.
Evacuation tests have not been conducted which account for any delay caused by plugged in cords.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 2:23 pm
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Originally Posted by LarryJ View Post
I believe the cutoff is officially two pounds. The 12" iPad is just under 1.6lbs so adding a keyboard would put it over.
Just checked, and you're right. Two pounds. Also must not obstruct access to aisles, and "mounts, clips, holders, etc" are not allowed during critical phases.

Originally Posted by eng3 View Post
The rule I really don't understand is why chargers have to be unplugged. Relatively speaking these are far lighter and pose less of an obstruction if any at all. But that's probably a debate for another thread
Originally Posted by LarryJ View Post
Evacuation tests have not been conducted which account for any delay caused by plugged in cords.
They're also a tripping hazard. We did a mock evac in a simulator (nothing official, but when you have to practice it 15 times in a day, you get time to experiment), and put chargers in some rows. Almost every row that had chargers, had someone trip into the aisle when smoke was added in (low-vis). And these were people that knew they were there.
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