FAA Still Looking at Digital Device Use During Takeoff and Landing

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.

united pilots ipad 1

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.

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Top Rated Comments

greytmom Avatar
146 months ago
Can't tell you how many flights I've been on where passengers simply hide their devices when the FA walks by, but don't turn them off.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
croooow Avatar
146 months ago
Anytime you mention. A US government department it turns into name calling and slurring.

The FAA are a bunch of poo-poo heads!
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cxny Avatar
146 months ago
didn't Mythbusters already rule on this?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RevTEG Avatar
146 months ago
i never turn my phone off or in airplane mode. i've also never been in a plane crash. i've sent numerous text and made calls from a commercial plane while in flight(lower altitudes where service is available), nothing bad has ever happened.
I do agree with you that it's not really a safety issue. However, you cannot just do whatever you decide. On a plane ,as in life, it's not just about you. It's about taking the safety of every other person on board into your hands. The Captain is the boss of every flight. Not any passenger. I fly all the time and if every passenger just did whatever he or she wanted to do it would be a safty risk. I do turn my phone to airplane mode simply because I don't want to take a chance on being wrong. Lots of innocent lives and families are not worth my text getting through.

I have been diverted to another airport once because a guy wouldn't get off his phone during a flight. FA ask nicely. He refused to listen. Captain landed the place. Had the guy removed and we were several hours late getting to our final distinction. Trust me his call/text wasn't that important. But he was only thinking about himself.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tiger8 Avatar
146 months ago
Chat with the passenger next to you...

Oh my God yes my world has ended because when I flew I had to shut down my iPad for 10 minutes, what is this world coming to?

I demand we all marsh to the White House in protest, we don't spend enough time with our iPads and iPhones and we spent way too much time interacting with fellow human beings...
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
croooow Avatar
146 months ago
Can't tell you how many flights I've been on where passengers simply hide their devices when the FA walks by, but don't turn them off.

If these devices posed a real risk (interference to instruments, etc) they they would not allow regular citizen on board with those devices.

We are stuck in a tube for X hours, if we can entertain ourselves so be it!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)