You may never hear, “Please turn off your electronics,” before a flight again, as The Wall Street Journal is reporting the FAA is expected to “relax” a ban on mobile devices used during takeoff. Earlier this year a similar rumor suggested the FAA was ready to change its stance. Placing phone calls will still remain off limits during a flight, which is really no surprise, meaning you’re stuck talking to the passenger next to you.
A high-profile panel has allegedly ruled on a draft, though many details are still being hammered out—some things could change before a final ruling is made. Right now, electronics are prohibited below 10,000 feet, but the new rules would allow approved devices—e-readers are specifically mentioned—to be used during all phases of flight, from the time the cabin door closes at takeoff to when the plane lands.
During its draft, the FAA admitted many passengers today typically break the rules anyway, and the sheer amount of electronic devices makes it difficult to enforce. Additionally, many argue that the devices have no adverse affects on the plane’s own electronic systems, so turning devices off is a moot point anyway. A final decision by the FAA isn’t expected until at least late Sept., when the final draft will be turned in.
Current guidelines are based on regulations from 1966—obviously a lot has changed since then. The FAA is finally realizing that people are more than fed up with having to turn their electronics off before and sometimes during flights, so we could potentially see more lax rules in the future. That may not mean being able to call mom after takeoff, but at least you won’t have to stop that game of Angry Birds.