Tired of having to switch off that smartphone off while waiting for your plane to takeoff and land? Well, you may not have to do that too much longer.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Friday that it is extending the deadline for an advisory committee to issue recommendations on changing current rules regarding in-flight use of electronic devices. The FAA is facing pressure from both the public and lawmakers to relax the prohibition on mobile device use during plane landings and takeoffs, the Associated Press notes.
The advisory committee was originally scheduled to propose its recommendations next month, but it will now have until September. Under current rules, airlines must show that all potential mobile devices would not affect aircraft functions under 10,000 feet in altitude — an effective rather than explicit ban, since airlines simply forbid all mobile device use during takeoffs and landings in order to comply with the rule.
According to reports, the FAA advisory committee has concluded that at least some restrictions should be relaxed, but sources say no consensus has been reached yet.
If the FAA does permit gate-to-gate use of electronic devices, it will likely insist on a certification process to ensure that the devices cannot interfere with aircraft electronic and navigational systems. Changes could go into effect in 2014.
The FAA has been studying the issues since at least last year.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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