FAA Expected To Relax Gadget Rules

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“Please turn off and stow all electronic devices” is an often-heard statement for frequent flyers, but according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, it may not be for long.

Federal Aviation Administration LogoWSJ claims the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has tasked an advisory panel of industry, pilot-union and government representatives to take a look at the FAA’s guidelines regarding electronic use during various phases of flight.

The FAA is expected to relax its rules surrounding the use of electronic devices, which were originally written in 1966, and advise airlines to prohibit use of all devices until the plane reaches 10,000 feet and place blanket restriction on any use of certain devices

Consumer technology is developing rapidly and the airlines haven’t kept up. While some now offer free in-flight Wi-Fi, most airlines prohibit and limit customers from using most of their electronic devices. Consumers claim it’s unnecessary and that the devices don’t interfere with the flight.

Apparently, the task force seems to agree. According to the Wall Street Journal the report, which hasn’t been finished and isn’t expected to be completed until late September, recommends the FAA relax its rules and in some instances, allow use of some electronics from gate to gate.

However, the draft from the advisory committee doesn’t address rules regarding cell phone usage because the FAA did not ask it to look into that specific matter. However, the draft does say members of the committee believe a discussion of cell phone use should be part of their final report. The Federal Communication Commission, not the FAA, issued the long-standing ban on use of cellphones using certain frequencies in flight.

The panel’s report offers three recommendations regarding electronic devices, based on the tolerance of the aircraft being flown. Passengers on plans with limited built-in protections would follow the same guidelines as are issued now – turn off all devices until advised it’s safe to use certain electronics. On other flights, passengers could be allowed to use certain electronics from gate-to-gate while the third category of aircraft would “tolerate emissions from electrical devices for all phases of flight.”

 Source: The Wall Street Journal

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