FAA Moves Closer to Allowing Electronic Device Use During Takeoffs and Landings
A Federal Aviation Administration advisory committee issued a recommendation to make radical changes to rules that currently prohibit airline passengers from using electronic devices on Thursday.
The move would allow passengers some use of smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and other personal electronic devices during takeoffs, landings, as well as during initial ascent and final descent phases of the flight.
While placing phone calls and using a data network would still be prohibited, and many devices would have to be left in airplane mode, where the internal radios are shut off, people could listen to music, watch movies, play games, do work, and read books.
The rule change, if implemented, would only cover smaller personal devices and not laptop computers.
The recommendations of the 28-member committee are slated to be delivered to the FAA next week. Most industry observers believe that the FAA will implement the changes.
Even when the changes are made, airlines will still be able to implement their own rules as to when such devices may be used and some may limit their use beyond what the FAA allows. Many industry groups including flight attendant unions have come out against the change, citing safety reasons.
Manufacturers of electronics devices, on the other hand, were elated. “We’ve been fighting for our customers on this issue for years – testing an airplane packed full of Kindles, working with the FAA, and serving as the device manufacturer on this committee,” said Drew Herdener, a spokesman for Amazon, which makes the Kindle e-reader, in a statement. “This is a big win for customers and, frankly, it’s about time.”
(Photo: Accura Media Group)