Steve Levitt complains about airline regulations. All I can say is: “hear hear!”

The sad thing is that I suspect that even if the regulations were removed then they would still likely do all these things because of fear of lawsuits should a water landing ever actually occur. Also, doesn’t a plastic knife get you focused on thinking about ways to take over a plane?

2 thoughts on “Freakairlinomics”

  1. I’d say ‘hear, hear’ to the many comments posted on Freakonomics in response to Levitt’s post. He should at least have done some research on whether water landings have occurred. He obviously doesn’t watch Air Crash Investigations.

    My guess is that ‘electronic devices’ are probably banned at landing and take-off more because the use of such devices could inhibit safe evacuation (headphones, idiots trying to shut down their hard drive, etc.) Just like the seat-backs and the tray-tables. It’s a way of saying “we’d like you all to sit there with your palms on your knees waiting to be told to run for your lives” without alarming the timid.

    But it’s not the lawyers telling the airlines to do these things. if the lawyers had their way, they’d drop all the regulations, because they invite lots of discrimination suits and don’t stop successful litigation in the event of airline crashes. Most likely, its the pilots and engineers who push for these things, because they don’t want their plane converted into a flying hotel. Remember that SwissAir flight that crashed because the in-flight gambling system in first class caught fire? Steve Levitt probably would regard a ban on electronic gambling on planes as freakairlinomics…


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