FAA might start allowing use of tablets and e-readers during takeoff and landing

airplane

We might not have to deal with those pesky warnings about turning off our tablets or e-readers on flights much longer. The Federal Aviation Administration of the United States may announce a more “lenient” policy on electronics usage later this year, with it taking effect sometime in early 2014.

The policy would relax the current rules on electronic devices during takeoff and landing, and allow for “reading devices” to be used. This most certainly puts tablets and e-readers into consideration, but cellphones are definitely not going to be included. The FAA has also commissioned a team composed of Amazon, Boeing, the CEA, FCC, and others to study the issues of in-flight electronics usage, and their findings will be released this July.

The policy change also has the support of lawmakers, with Senator Claire McCaskill telling The New York Times that  a “flying copy of ‘War and Peace’ is more dangerous than a Kindle.” My question for the senator would probably be, which Kindle?

A Kindle Fire HD to the face in high-altitude sounds pretty dangerous to me.

[via NYTThe Verge, image via Hideyuki KAMON]

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9 comments

  1. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    [@Mike] Good point. However, I’m sure I’ve heard of studies that debunk the cellphone-endanger-airplanes myth. I just can’t remember any off the top of my head =O

    [@Enrique] I think the issue is there is no way of knowing for sure someone has their phone on airplane mode.

  2. Enrique

    [@Mike] I guess it’s better to be absolutely sure.

    But that still doesn’t explain why people can’t use their devices during landing and takeoff when they’re put on airplane mode, right?

    Since none of the wireless radios are on at that point, it shouldn’t be able to cause any harm.

    I think in a couple of years this should change.

  3. Mike

    [@Ashraf] But, if 50-100 people are using cellphones at the same time? Untill the FAA has determined that electronics devices during takeoff and landing are safe, I will continue asking my seat neighbors to turn theirs off–I would hate to have an accident because someone near me was inconsiderate to me and others, “playing the odds.”

  4. Enrique
    Author/Staff

    [@mukhi] But do cellphones really cause problems? Hasn’t this been debunked?

    Also, there are are planes with internet and cellular access now. So there’s actually proof flying around (ha) that it isn’t actually dangerous.

    What do you think?