FAA to Allow Smartphones, eReaders, Tablets During Take-Off

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Delta Airbus Taking OffIt seems like the FAA is coming around to something air passengers discovered a long time ago – that reading a book on your Kindle or playing Angry Birds on your smartphone during takeoff isn’t deleterious to plane function. The AP is reporting that the Federal Aviation Administration, or at least one of its committees, has been combing through studies and other evidence, and the news is looking good for consumers.

If I sound glib when I talk about the issue, I really don’t mean to be – but having flown my fair share, I see customers flouting the ban constantly, and if the restrictions were lifted, it would remove what is often one of the biggest points of contention between passengers and airline employees.

You don’t need to worry about your neighbor chattering away while flight attendants prepare the cabin for takeoff, as external connectoins – like phone calls and Internet access – will still be banned. Even if they weren’t, most smartphones won’t work past a certain altitude and speed.

Despite the FAA regulations, it’s possible that some time will pass before passengers reap the benefits. Firstly, the recommendations aren’t even official, as the FAA committee is reportedly going to present the information sometime next week.

Also, FAA officials have final say as to how many of the recommendations are instituted – they may choose to follow all or just a few. Airlines may consider that 10,000 feet still too dangerous for customers to be holding large chunks of metal and glass in their hands. Then there’s a matter of time, though it may be sooner than you think; the AP writes that we might see changes hitting in just a few months – should the policy be fast-tracked.

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