U.S. Senator Promising Legislative Action Allowing In-Air Use of Electronic Devices if FAA Doesn't Act

NewImageU.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has sent a letter to the head of the Federal Aviation Administration saying the flying public is "growing increasingly skeptical" of prohibitions on the use of electronic devices like tablets and computers during the beginning and end of flights.

The senator notes the "absurdity of the current situation" since the FAA has recently approved the use of iPads to replace paper flight manuals. She promises that she is "prepared to pursue legislative solutions" if the FAA is too slow to act.

As you surely know, 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. For example, a traveler can read a paper copy of a newspaper throughout a flight, but is prohibited from reading the same newspaper for major portions of the flight when reading it on an e-reader. The fear of devices that operate on electricity is dated, at best. Importantly, such anachronistic policies undermine the public's confidence in the FAA, thereby increasing the likelihood that rules of real consequence will be given too little respect. The absurdity of the current situation was highlighted when the FAA acted earlier this year to allow tablet computers to replace paper flight manuals in the cockpit, further enhancing the public's skepticism about the current regulations.

While safety and security must be the top priority in air travel, the FAA and other federal agencies should also work to ensure air travel is as hassle free as possible by revising or removing regulations that have become unnecessary or outdated. It is my hope that the FAA will work, with the FCC and other federal agencies where appropriate, as expeditiously as possible to implement common sense changes to today's restrictive regulations on in-flight use of PEDs that better reflect new technologies and the changing role these devices play in Americans' daily lives. While the agency can and should use existing authorities to allow for the broader use of PEDs, I am prepared to pursue legislative solutions should progress be made too slowly.

Earlier this year, the FAA said it was taking a "fresh look" at the use of digital devices during takeoff and landing, though no changes in policy have been announced.

Top Rated Comments

yg17 Avatar
106 months ago

And I hope it doesn't pass committee.

Seriously, I don't get why we have to have our laptops/tablets/etc. on at all times. Are we that desperate for a fix?

If someone's screaming brat is sitting in the seat behind me and won't shut up (which seems to happen to me every time I fly) you're damn right I want to have my headphones in with music blasting. Even if the law limits you to only listening to Yoko Ono or Bjork during takeoff or landing, it would be an improvement.

I've never understood the argument that an electronic device is a safety risk during takeoff. Assuming the wireless radios are off, how is reading something on a Kindle or iPad any different than reading a newspaper or book as many often do from a safety standpoint?

I concur that antiquated rules need to be looked at. I'm not sure that legal action by a Senator is required. You'd think they have more important things to worry about right now, you know, like the financial future of the country.

:rolleyes:

The idea is they don't want whatever's not properly stowed flying around the cabin in an emergency. But unrestrained lap babies are apparently okay. 5 ounce phone projectile - bad. 10 pound baby projectile - not a problem! I propose allowing electronics and requiring all infants being stowed in the overhead bins during takeoff and landing.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
onigami Avatar
106 months ago
And I hope it doesn't pass committee.

Seriously, I don't get why we have to have our laptops/tablets/etc. on at all times. Are we that desperate for a fix?
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bretm Avatar
106 months ago

This is about turning it off during take-off and landing. Passing time during a flight, that's fine. But if you need on the entire duration of the flight, and you cannot handle being without it for the 30 or so minutes that take-off and landing take up, something's wrong with you.


So now you're a judge of when a device should be permitted and a persons mental integrity? We generally try to side on the side of personal freedom in this country. Or at least we did. If its not harming someone else or infringing on heir rights, leave it be. Maybe I don't like your choice of magazine. Do ou really need to be reading that all the time? I think you have a problem. I think you are drinking too much too. Shouldn't you have a different hair cut?
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dukebound85 Avatar
106 months ago

Why do you need them on?


why do YOU want them off?
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
All Taken Avatar
106 months ago

And I hope it doesn't pass committee.

Seriously, I don't get why we have to have our laptops/tablets/etc. on at all times. Are we that desperate for a fix?


Who said people have them on all the time? Perhaps somebody will want to use a device as a pass time, like on a flight....
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ckeck Avatar
106 months ago

And I hope it doesn't pass committee.

Seriously, I don't get why we have to have our laptops/tablets/etc. on at all times. Are we that desperate for a fix?


What does this have to do with anything? The fact that I can't even put my iPad in airplane mode and continue reading one of my ebooks while everyone around me with a paper book can continue about their business is flat out ridiculous.

I'm not desperate for an internet connection but why the hell should I have to lose 20-30 minutes of GOOD reading time because of stupid rules that don't solve for anything? So wasteful.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
prototype iphone 12 pro

Prototype iPhone 12 Pro Shown Off in Photos

Wednesday January 13, 2021 3:39 pm PST by
Developer Giulio Zompetti, who often shows off prototype versions of Apple devices, today highlighted a prototype version of the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro is running an operating system called SwitchBoard, a nonUI version of the iOS 14 update that Apple uses internally. We've seen SwitchBoard on prototype devices before, as Apple uses it to test new features. Zompetti's prototype...
find my app safari post

Safari Allows Users to Enable Hidden 'Items' Tab in 'Find My' App Ahead of AirTags Launch

Wednesday January 13, 2021 5:45 am PST by
As seen in screenshots obtained by MacRumors in 2019, Apple's long-rumored AirTags items trackers are expected to be managed through the Find My app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Now, any user can get an early look at this tab. MacRumors reader David Chu today alerted us that the hidden "Items" tab in the Find My app can be enabled on an iPhone or iPad by typing in the link findmy://items in...
pioneer carplay wc5700nex

The Best Apple-Related Accessories at CES 2021

Wednesday January 13, 2021 1:16 pm PST by
CES 2021 is taking place digitally this year, and it hasn't been as exciting as in past years because many vendors have opted out. That said, some companies are still showing off some interesting Apple-related accessories that are coming out this year and that will be of interest to Mac, iPad, and iPhone users. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Pioneer Wireless...
Hue module dimmer switch

Philips Hue Announces New Wall Switch Module, Dimmer Switch, and Outdoor Light Bar

Thursday January 14, 2021 3:11 am PST by
Philips Hue has announced a new wireless dimmer switch module that lets Hue bridge owners directly control the smart lighting from their standard wall switches. The new Philips Hue wall switch module is the ideal addition to any Philips Hue set up. Installed behind existing light switches, it allows users to turn their existing switch into a smart switch and ensures their smart lighting is...
macbook pro 16 inch thunderbolt

Bloomberg: Next-Generation MacBook Pro to Offer Improved Displays, Faster Charging Over MagSafe

Thursday January 14, 2021 11:36 pm PST by
Following today's report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlining major changes for the next-generation MacBook Pro models coming in the third quarter of this year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has weighed in with his own report corroborating some of the details but seemingly differing a bit on others. First, Gurman shares more details on the return of MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro, indicating...
cook cbs this morning

CBS This Morning: Apple to Make 'Big Announcement' Tomorrow Morning

Tuesday January 12, 2021 8:46 am PST by
CBS This Morning today shared a short clip of an upcoming interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook in which addressing last week's events at the U.S. Capitol, with Cook saying "it's key that people be held accountable for it." Following the clip, Gayle King of CBS noted that the interview with Cook was not specifically arranged to address the current controversy over Parler and other repercussions, ...
iOS 14

Apple Seeds Second Betas of iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 10:03 am PST by
Apple today seeded the second betas of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a month after Apple released the first betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...
caldigit thunderbolt 4 dock featured

CalDigit Introduces USB-C Dock With 10 Ports and Up to 94W Charging for Macs [Updated]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 9:16 am PST by
CalDigit today unveiled a new Thunderbolt 4 dock with a wide selection of connectivity options, including three USB-A ports, one USB-C port, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an SD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The dock also has a Thunderbolt 4 port that allows it to be connected to a Mac with a single cable, with up to 94W of pass-through charging for the latest MacBook...