WSJ: The FAA Is Ready to Ease Restrictions on In-Flight Electronics

By Jamie Condliffe on at

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Federal Aviation Administration in the US is about to loosen its restrictions on in-flight gadget use — more than a year after it first announced it was mulling the idea.

The Journal explains that a high-level, 28-member advisory panel will recommend to the FAA that it relax restrictions during taxiing, takeoff, and landing. The suggestion is based on an investigation launched last August which aimed to assess just how dangerous electronic devices are aboard flights.

While the advice to be given by the panel isn't finalised, opinion seems to suggest that current regulations "have become untenable." While it's unclear what the exact recommendations will be, they're expected to allow more freedom for gadget use inside aeroplanes — and some devices, like e-readers, will likely be permitted for use throughout the entire flight. Phone calls won't be covered just yet — but baby steps, people, baby steps.

The FAA's reluctance to change policy on gadgets has been broadly criticised by everyone from politicians to consumers, and it seems likely that any softening of the rules will be greeted with open arms. The beauty is that once America's FAA rules, it's likely that aviation authorities around the world will follow suit, which means us here in Blightly too. Certainly, it can't come soon enough — the current guidelines are based on regulations that have remained unchanged since 1966. [WSJ]

Image by Derrick Coetzee under Creative Commons license