Dear Airlines, let me read…

An open letter to all airlines

Dear Airlines,

Why are you discriminating against me on your flights?

I am a minimalist, paper-shunning reader. As a result, I have helped stop trees being felled and therefore – however slightly – have positively impacted the environment. By carrying my Kindle, I reduce the weight on planes and size of my baggage compared to other readers who by the oversized ‘3 for 2’s at the airport before boarding (I’d imagine the low-cost airlines would like that!).

In short, I don’t get in the way. All I want to do is read but you won’t let me.

“All electronic devices must be switched off for take-off and landing”

This is the phrase that means I have to return to the real world of noise, turbulence, cramped seats and odd smells until the captain says I can read again. Why? Because I choose to read paperlessly. My seat companion can carry on – he’s reading a paperback (320 pages), with the author’s name in bold, silver-embossed lettering – but I can’t? Why? What’s the difference? I beg you to tell me.

I’ve had a go at understanding your point of view.

I might get distracted if there were an emergency somehow. I know you ask people with earphones in to take them off and turn off their music, so I get this. But why can my seat neighbour carry on reading then?

It’s electronic, so it might be damaging to the plane, somehow. I’m not technically-minded to that extent, but I can’t see how a low-voltage device with a small internal battery could possibly damage the flight controls. I’m prepared to be argued with on this one.

The wireless connection might fiddle with the proper working of the plane’s instruments and cause us all to come crashing down. It’s not connected, but on, in the same way my phone is in airplane mode. What’s the difference?

If there were an accident, it might go flying out of my hands and harm someone. While this is probably the last thing on anyone’s mind when the plane is going down, I fail to see how my light Kindle would cause more harm than the hefty paperback in my colleague’s hand.

So you can see, I’ve tried to understand your point of view. Can you understand mine? Can you give me a good reason why I can’t carry on reading like the guy next to me?

I humbly suggest that your blanket ‘all electronic devices must be switched off…’ statement is – in this day and age – too general and fails to take into account the differences between them. One size does not fit all.

But if you insist it does and if I am not allowed to read, then my seat neighbour shouldn’t be allowed to either. I’d like to see you attempt to stop everyone reading and get away with it.

I really look forward to your reply.

Yours, deprived,



2 thoughts on “Dear Airlines, let me read…

    • If only that were true, then I’d be happy – I can argue on those grounds. But stoney silence from any airline or airline operative makes it hard to enter a debate.


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