A 28 person advisory panel has recommended during a closed door meeting to ease restrictions on phones, tablets and e-Readers during takeoffs, and landings of commercial air flights. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the government asked them not to talk publicly about their deliberations.
The recommendations made this week will be sent Monday to the Federal Aviation Administration, which has final say on whether to ease current restrictions on the use of personal electronic devices on planes. If everything is approved, passengers will be able to start using their devices as early as February 2014.
So what will change with using your multimedia or e-Reader at an attitude of 10,000 feet? The advisory board has said that as long as the device is in airplane mode and you are not sending or receiving data, you are good to go. This will sit well with people who just want to read a newspaper, eBook or listen to music.
Why does it seem that we are closed then ever before to use our electronics on airplanes and not send the plane crashing in a fiery inferno? Newer aircraft are better equipped to prevent electronic interference, and critics long have complained that the safety concerns behind the regulations are groundless.
“We’ve been fighting for our customers on this issue for years – testing an airplane packed full of Kindles, working with the FAA and serving as the device manufacturer on this committee,” Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener said in a statement. “This is a big win for customers, and frankly, it’s about time.”
“These devices are not dangerous. Your Kindle isn’t dangerous. Your iPad that is on airplane mode is perfectly safe,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who has been pressing the FAA to lift the restrictions, said in an interview.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.