Re: Better to have no gadgets during take off
What sort of situation do you envisage happening, without your awareness, that will require you to take action? Because, for sure, I can't think of a single thing.
Planes nowadays, especially in Europe, are methods of travel. You get on one. You sit for an hour. You get off one. Ignoring all the crap like spending three times that time sitting in the airport/customs/collecting your luggage, the plane journey is boring and - to me - annoying.
I do not WANT to listen to the safety briefing. Unlike everyone else, I read the damn card the second I sat down and that's more than enough for me to go on after HUNDREDS of such safety briefings. In the event I need it, it won't be me inflating my life-jacket in the cabin, it'll be some other prat who DID sit through the demo attentively. I do not care what scratchcards or food or bus tickets are coming around. I will not buy them. Don't even bother to stop at my aisle, just keep going.
As such, I want to cut myself off from the screaming kids, the snoring adults (surely sleeping would be worse than anything, so why don't we wake people up to ask if they want to hear the safety briefing?), the arguing couples, the damn hostesses constantly bothering me. I will do that by reading or going on the computer or sleeping. And I know 100% that if my computer affected the flight in any way, you'd actually NEED to confiscate such devices from me as I entered the plane, not half-heartedly trust me to turn it off or put it in flight mode (and, yes, sorry, but on any particular flight I guarantee you that half the people have their phones on and in their bag, not in flight mode at all). Therefore, my laptop / Kindle / phone does NOTHING to the plane. It might interfere with the cell networks a bit, so I do turn on any flight mode, etc. but a blanket "you have to turn it off or the plane will crash" is utter tripe. Or else you wouldn't allow the damn things in the first place.
Take-off and landing have precisely zero importance to the passengers except for those who are scared of flying to distract themselves. The current policy REMOVES that opportunity for no verifiable "safety" reason. It's utter tripe. I'm not scared of flying but if I were, I'd want earplugs and blindfolds and to bury my head in a book rather than listen to what I should do if the plane crashes and/or hear the build-up of the engines at some random time that I can't predict.
Yet there is a much bigger factor here. People who are relaxed and not tense respond better to emergency situations. But airlines nowadays remove ALL methods of relaxation. You can barely sleep on them nowadays. You can't do anything on takeoff or landing. You're constantly told off for things. You are crammed into uncomfortable seats with no provided distractions, and get bossed about if you provide your own. You are frequently disturbed and in close proximity to people you didn't choose and whose behaviour is not regulated. You have limited access to toilet facilities. And you cannot escape for a long time.
If airlines actually gave a damn about safety, they'd make the aisles wider, and the gap between seats bigger. See how long it takes to clear a RyanAir flight on landing? That's how long it's going to take in an emergency, and some more. Imagine the back of the plane is slowly burning next time you decamp a plane from even 1/3rd of the way from the front. Now add panic, confusion, and people trying to save possessions and being trampled and people trying to help. You'll be dead.
They'd make the safety equipment more intuitive if they cared (where does my oxygen mask drop down from? Why do I have to tug it to start airflow? Why do some seats have different arrangements? Why does my lifejacket allow inflation outside of water? Why does it have a valve capable of "deflation" at all? Why aren't children provided with one made for them as they enter the aircraft?).
They'd take passengers minds off the flight in a way they could interrupt (e.g. show a movie, like they all used to do - that honestly must cost pence), rather than relying on everyone to bring a personal device with them that they have to spend hours telling people off for having it switched on at the wrong time.
None of this is about safety. And in situations requiring it, EVERYONE will forget at least one rule. Guaranteed. Absolute. No matter how many times you plug it into their brain. Watch the programmes where they follow stewardesses in training - it can take them months or years to get it right themselves, even in organised training. So why the hell do we still rely on people doing these things to ensure their safety instead of redesigning to make them unnecessary?
(The answer, of course, is money, and change being expensive, and perceived liability being even more so).
If a plane crashes, the people who come out the other end will be random, and have little correlation to their attention to the safety briefing and/or their general outlook on safety (in fact, it's likely to be those who trample other people, who inflated their life jacket and hindered others, and those near the doors who collected their luggage first). Putting your head between your legs might increase the chance of a dummy in a fake plane surviving, but it's so miniscule it's barely worth knowing. It won't kill you (like some urban myths state), but it won't do much to help you survive either.
Road vehicles are infinitely more dangerous, yet we don't have compulsory safety briefings on buses and coaches. Ships are more dangerous, and though we do have a safety drill on large ships - again, it's largely tradition more than anything else. On the Costa Concordia most of those who jumped (contrary to all safety briefings) survived. Not all of those who stayed did. And all the lifeboat drill is POINTLESS if some fool is in charge of your ship and doesn't tell you what's happening or refuses to let you lower them.
It's an outdated, pointless, waste of time. Just let people get on with their flight undisturbed. I'd rather be in a plane full of people who had slept well and weren't uncomfortable and annoyed, than one where we all had the safety briefing shoved down our throat (and the biggest factor for me in such a decision is what OTHER people would do, not what I would do).