The FAA Is Seriously Thinking About Letting You Use Electronic Devices During Takeoff

Illustration for article titled The FAA Is Seriously Thinking About Letting You Use Electronic Devices During Takeoff

After announcing it would take a 'fresh look' at the ban of using electronic devices during takeoff and landing, the FAA has just announced that it'll be forming a new committee to study, analyze and reconsider the issue. That means there's a very good possibility that we'll be able to use our electronic devices whenever the hell we want when we're on a plane.

As it should be. Because let's face it, our gadgets aren't about to make an airplane explode. Here's what the FAA will be doing:

The government-industry group will examine a variety of issues, including the testing methods aircraft operators use to determine which new technologies passengers can safely use aboard aircraft and when they can use them. The group will also look at the establishment of technological standards associated with the use of PEDs [portable electronic devices] during any phase of flight. The group will then present its recommendations to the FAA. The group will not consider the airborne use of cell phones for voice communications during flight.


The FAA expects the studies to be completed by March and accounting for all the red tape in these types of government organized situations, we can expect a decision sometime after the iPhone Ocho and Galaxy Whole Damn Universe are released. No, but seriously, we're hoping that the FAA comes to the right conclusion that our Kindles and our iPads and our laptops aren't a freaking danger to the skies. [FAA via Bloomberg, Image: Derrick Coetzee]

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Recently I had a flight attendant tell me that I had to take my earbuds out of my ears for takeoff. They weren't even plugged in, but her excuse was that I couldn't hear announcements and the wires would get in the way of an evacuation. That was a first, and this post seems to indicate that it was as bogus as I suspected.

So I was a good passenger and removed them, but it made me start thinking about how many times lately that I've heard excuses for arbitrary policies that are simply untrue (e.g. the following exchange: "You can't bring on your bag because there's no room in the overhead compartments." "Lady, I'm the third person on this plane; what's the real reason you don't want my bag on board?" "It's too big to fit in the compartment!" "Look— it fits; I can also close the compartment." "Hmmmph ")

Anyone have any idea what's with this? Or have they always fed us lines for the hell of it?