Responding to the incident in which Alec Baldwin was kicked off his flight for refusing to shut down his cell phone, Salon.com’s pilot columnist Patrick Smith has written a column about the question of interference from electronic devices—including e-readers—on takeoff. Much of it is about what you would expect—while it hasn’t been proven that cellphones are a flight danger, airlines choose to err on the side of caution. But I did find interesting the part that specifically addresses e-readers:
As for the restrictions pertaining to computers, iPods and certain other devices during takeoffs and landings, this has nothing to do with electronic interference. In theory, a poorly shielded notebook computer can emit harmful energy, but the main reason laptops need to be put away is to prevent them from becoming high-speed projectiles in the event of an impact or sudden deceleration, and from hampering an evacuation. Your computer is a piece of luggage, and luggage needs to be stowed so it doesn’t kill somebody or get in the way. The same holds for iPads and Kindles. Sure, a book can weigh as much as a Kindle, but this is where the line is drawn.
(Found via BoingBoing.)