A year ago, it was revealed that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration was reexamining regulations regarding the use of digital devices like the iPad or Amazon Kindle during taxi, takeoff and landing of commercial aircraft.
Today, The New York Times reports that the industry group working with the FAA to study the issue hopes to loosen restrictions by the end of the year. However, there are still details to work out regarding what devices will be acceptable during flight and what 'airplane mode' means.
According to people who work with an industry working group that the Federal Aviation Administration set up last year to study the use of portable electronics on planes, the agency hopes to announce by the end of this year that it will relax the rules for reading devices during takeoff and landing. The change would not include cellphones.
One member of the group and an official of the F.A.A., both of whom asked for anonymity because they were not allowed to speak publicly about internal discussions, said the agency was under tremendous pressure to let people use reading devices on planes, or to provide solid scientific evidence why they cannot.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) promised at the end of last year to introduce legislation to force the FAA to loosen its restrictions if it doesn't choose to do so on its own. The senator was particularly frustrated because airline pilots can use iPads in the cockpit in all phases of flight, while customers are restricted to seemingly arbitrary altitude limits.