by Brent Dirks
March 25, 2013
Moving at the speed of government, the FAA will hopefully announce by the end of the year loosened restrictions regarding the use of electronic devices during flight. According to The New York Times, fliers will be able to use devices like iPads and laptops during takeoff and landing. Cell phones would still have to be completely shut off, though. Both an anonymous source from the FAA and on the industry work group tasked with studying the rules said the agency was under pressure to relax the rules or show conclusively why the electronics shouldn’t be allowed during takeoff and landing:
Last year, the agency announced that an industry working group would study the issue. The group, which first met in January, comprises people from various industries, including Amazon, the Consumer Electronics Association, Boeing, the Association of Flight Attendants, the Federal Communications Commission and aircraft makers. The group plans to introduce its findings by July 31. The group has several goals beyond determining the safety of electronics on planes, according to an internal document that describes its objectives that was shown to The New York Times. Those include ensuring that flight attendants do not have to be the social police for which devices are acceptable during flight and determining what the term “airplane mode” really means. Finally, the group wants to ensure that whatever rules the agency announces apply to devices that are not on the market today. The report also hopes to replace multiple regulations with a single, concise set.That’s great news for the traveling public. I’ll be thrilled to finally use my iPad during an entire flight. To help spur movement from the FAA, Sen. Claire McCaskill announced earlier this month that she would introduce legislation to relax the rules.