US mulls changes to personal electronics on flights

September 23, 2013
Passengers wait in line for a flight at Miami International Airport on April 16, 2013 in Miami, Florida.

US aviation officials are considering easing restrictions on the use of personal electronics like smartphones, laptop computers and e-readers aboard airplanes, a spokesman said Monday.

An is meeting behind closed doors on Tuesday and Wednesday to finalize its recommendations for the Federal Aviation Administration by the end of this month, according to the FAA.

"The FAA recognizes consumers are intensely interested in the use of personal electronics aboard aircraft," a spokesman said in an email to AFP.

"That is why we tasked a government-industry group to examine the safety issues and the feasibility of changing the current restrictions."

According to current regulations, passengers are barred from using for the entire flight, and are typically asked to turn off these devices for takeoff and landing.

The ban on sending and receiving emails, making calls and using Wi-Fi is based on concerns that the communications might interfere with a plane's .

Experts say many of these concerns are outdated, particularly since the FAA last year allowed airlines to replace paper flight manuals in the cockpit with .

Phone calls aboard planes are banned by a separate entity, the Federal Communications Commission, and would not be subject to change by the FAA.

Senator Claire McCaskill, a leading advocate for wider use of personal electronics in flight, wrote the FAA in 2012 urging a policy change.

"The public is growing increasingly skeptical of prohibitions on the use of many electronic devices during the full duration of a flight, while at the same time using such devices in increasing numbers," she said.

"The fear of devices that operate on electricity is dated, at best."

The FAA convened the advisory panel last year to review the evidence and update the rules. A final recommendation is expected by the end of September.

"We will wait for the group to finish its work before we determine next steps," the FAA spokesman said.

Explore further: FAA moving toward easing electronic device use

Related Stories

FAA moving toward easing electronic device use

June 21, 2013

The U.S. government is moving toward easing restrictions on airline passengers using electronic devices to listen to music, play games, read books, watch movies and work during taxiing, takeoffs and landings.

Foreign airlines urged to use GPS at San Francisco (Update)

July 29, 2013

U.S. aviation officials have advised all foreign airlines to use a GPS system instead of visual reckoning and cockpit instruments when landing at San Francisco International Airport in the wake of the deadly Asiana Airlines ...

Airline passengers may get a break on electronics

March 19, 2012

The government is taking a tentative step toward making it easier for airlines to allow passengers to use personal electronic devices such as tablets, e-readers and music players during takeoffs and landings.

Pilots cleared to use iPad during takeoff, landing

December 15, 2011

Apple's iPad has been cleared for use by American Airlines pilots during takeoff and landing in a move that could make bulky flight bags crammed with manuals and charts a thing of the past.

Recommended for you

Microsoft aims at Apple with high-end PCs, 3D software

October 26, 2016

Microsoft launched a new consumer offensive Wednesday, unveiling a high-end computer that challenges the Apple iMac along with an updated Windows operating system that showcases three-dimensional content and "mixed reality."

Making it easier to collaborate on code

October 26, 2016

Git is an open-source system with a polarizing reputation among programmers. It's a powerful tool to help developers track changes to code, but many view it as prohibitively difficult to use.

Dutch unveil giant vacuum to clean outside air

October 25, 2016

Dutch inventors Tuesday unveiled what they called the world's first giant outside air vacuum cleaner—a large purifying system intended to filter out toxic tiny particles from the atmosphere surrounding the machine.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.