Regulators may ease limits on in-flight electronics
The FAA will wait for several months before making a formal decision, according to news reports.
The Federal Aviation Administration is reportedly close to allowing the use of electronic gadgets on airplanes during takeoff and landing. Passengers will no longer have to stow their devices while planes are under 10,000 feet.
Phone calls, however, will still be banned.
The agency asked an advisory panel to take a look at an issue that has irritated passengers for decades: Why do we have to put away electronic devices when there is no evidence showing that they inhibit plane operations? Even pilots have put their flying manuals on Apple (AAPL) iPads.
The existing rules have basically been unchanged since the 1960s, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The panel's findings are not public yet, but the group is expected to recommend a relaxing of the rules. One reason for the change is that many passengers brazenly disregard admonitions to power off devices during flights anyway. How many times have you forgotten to turn off your phone in the preflight hustle and bustle?
Making this change is a big deal, and that's why the FAA is taking a cautious approach. It won't make any formal decision until after the advisory panel hands in the final version of its report. That's been delayed until the end of September.
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