FAA Advisory Panel Says We Should Be Allowed to Use Electronic Devices

As expected, the FAA advisory committee has recommended that airline passengers should be "allowed to use smartphones, tablets, e-readers and other personal electronic devices during takeoffs and landings". That means, yes, we can finally use our damn (innocent) electronic devices while on an airplane without looking like a criminal.

The AP specifies:

Under the recommendations, passengers would be able to use most devices, although some would have to be switched to airplane mode. Downloading data, surfing the Web and talking on the phone would still be prohibited. But people could still read e-books, listen to music, watch movies, play games and do work.

Welcome to the future, flying.

Image by StudioSmart/Shutterstock

NYT: FAA's New Electronic Device Rules to 'Go Into Effect Next Year'

The New York Times is reporting that the Federal Aviation Administration is about to finalize its loosened restrictions on in-flight gadget use—more than a year after it first announced it was mulling the idea.

The Times reports that an FAA advisory panel will meet this week to finish up the policy which will change the way we can use electronic devices aboard airplanes. The expectation is that reading ebooks, listening to podcasts and watching videos should all be allowed, according to anonymous sources from within the panel. Elsewhere, it's expected that "making phone calls", "sending and receiving e-mails" or "using Wi-Fi" will remain off-limits.


The newspaper suggests that the decision made by the panel will be suggested to the FAA by the end of the month, and likely go into effect next year. The FAA's reluctance to change policy on gadgets has been broadly criticized by everyone from politicians to consumers, and it seems likely that any softening of the rules will be greeted with open arms. Certainly, it can't come soon enough—the current guidelines are based on regulations that have remained unchanged since 1966. [New York Times]

Image by Derrick Coetzee under Creative Commons license