Portable electronics like phones, tablets and laptops are increasingly being used to entertain airplane passengers during their flights, but one annoyance that comes with carrying on such hardware is the requirement that they must be turned off during takeoff and landing. There's some good news for travelers this evening, though, as a new report claims that the rules related to electronics and airplanes may soon be relaxed.
Sources speaking to the New York Times say that a Federal Aviation Administration panel will convene this week in order to complete its recommendations that the restrictions on electronics usage be softened to allow for reading ebooks, listening to podcasts and watching videos. These tipsters, who happen to be members of the FAA panel making the recommendations, went on to say that the bans on conducting phone calls, sending text messages and emails as well as using Wi-Fi during takeoff and landing are likely to remain.
The rules related to electronics use on airplanes are based on the concern that the devices could interfere with the equipment onboard an aircraft. There hasn't been much concrete evidence to support those theories, though, and some aviation experts say that most portable electronics use so little power that they can't cause problems with a plane's electronics. We've also seen some devices begin to make their way into the cockpits of planes as replacements for bulky paper manuals.
While the period of time during which travelers are asked to turn off their devices doesn't typically last longer than 20 or 30 minutes, many folks still get annoyed at having their entertainment interrupted during takeoff and landing. Even though these rumored rule changes likely aren't as relaxed as some would like, they'd be a welcome first step that could help lead to even softer restrictions in the future. The FAA advisory panel is expected to make its formal recommendation by the end of September, and the new policy would likely go into effect in 2014.
Via New York Times