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New draft recommendations say some devices, like e-readers, could be used the entire flight

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) may back off on the strict rules for gadgets during flight, according to draft recommendations by an advisory panel. 

The draft recommendations, which were prepared by a 28-member panel consisting of government, industry and pilot union representatives, are leaning toward the idea that current rules regarding electronic device use on planes could use a change. 

The rules in place today were set in 1966, when it was believed that electromagnetic interference would cause problems with radios and navigation systems onboard the plane. The general rule is to turn all electronic devices off during takeoffs and landings, and can be turned on once the plane reaches about 10,000 feet. 

However, with the flood of portable devices available today, it's nearly impossible to make sure each and every tablet or smartphone is off during takeoffs and landings.

That's why the FAA created the advisory board in August 2012. Not only is it looking for recommendations, but also didn't want each airline to create a different set of rules that would confuse passengers. So far, it looks like the board thinks it's time to relax the rules a little. 

The draft recommendations are by no means the final word, as the final draft could have many changes. But for now, the board believes the weak wireless signals and tighter range of frequencies from electronic devices are not enough to interfere with plane systems. Approved devices, such as e-readers, could even be used during all phases of the flight. 

But cell phones have not yet been addressed in the recommendations. However, phone calls are expected to remain off-limits, even if the reason is respect to other passengers sitting nearby who don't want to hear you go off about your stomach flu last week to Aunt Hilda. 

Current rules for electronic device use has caused a lot of problems between passengers and even airline employees. For instance, a 68-year-old man punched a 15-year-old on a plane when the teenager refused to turn off his smartphone during a flight. According to the man, he was doing it to save the entire plane from any harmful consequences.

Another passenger was arrested in El Paso when he decided not to turn off his cell phone during landing. In yet another instance, a passenger did the same when landing in New York and a swarm of cop cars were waiting for him once he exited the plane.

Of course, many also remember the incident where Alec Baldwin was kicked off a plane in 2011 for playing Words With Friends.

The final recommendations are due to be completed in September. 

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Read a book...
By OutOfTouch on 6/21/2013 10:58:00 PM , Rating: 3
Seriously, can't people just put their friggin devices down for 20 minutes? Is it really that big of a deal?

RE: Read a book...
By ritualm on 6/22/2013 5:35:40 PM , Rating: 2
I was on a flight last week. Was told to stow my cellphone away so the plane can takeoff, even though I had it on airplane mode and playing Debbie Does Dallas!

This is an outrage!

RE: Read a book...
By marvdmartian on 6/24/2013 9:09:32 AM , Rating: 2
If I have my Kindle reader in hand, I AM reading a book. So long as the WiFi is turned off, what's it going to harm, other than I may not pay attention to the flight attendant's display on how to use a seat belt, etc, that I've seen a hundred times.

I am glad to see they'll keep people off their phones, though. There's oftentimes a real lack of etiquette when people are talking on their phones, that I'd just as soon not have to sit next to.

RE: Read a book...
By Schadenfroh on 6/24/2013 9:57:37 AM , Rating: 2
Most folks read novels on their ebooks / kindles on flights these days. If a modern book can bring a plane down, or even interfere with radio communication in the cockpit, we have far bigger problems.

Paper is inefficient, just like Luddites that hamper progress and celebrate when those that have accepted the gifts that science has bestowed upon us get screwed by brain dead policies that have little basis in reality.

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