Possible FAA In-Flight Electronics Use Change
"In preparation for landing, please do not worry about turning off your electronic devices."
An announcement like this may soon be coming to a plane near you, thanks to expected revisions in FAA policies governing the use of electronic devices while on board. These changes are being driven by a panel the FAA convened a year ago to study the impact of such devices on aircraft systems. The panel has, according to multiple reports, concluded their meetings and will officially present their findings next week. The FAA will issue a decision after a review period.
Once the review is complete the actual implementation of the changes could take months or longer, depending on whether a blanket approval is granted or if it is only on a per-airline or per-aircraft basis. It is expected by most that the FAA will accept the recommendations, in large part because they had their own staff participating along with industry and technology experts.
The expected recommendation is not going to be a carte blanche for passengers, however. There will still be some limitations on device operation below 10,000 feet. Rather than requiring devices be completely turned off at that level (the current rule) the new rule will allow for the devices only if they are in "flight mode," disabling the communication functions such as WiFi.
For passengers this means reading eBooks, watching movies, playing games, or working would now be allowed gate-to-gate rather than only while at cruising altitude. However, there will still be limits on talking or using data services.
Accountability is a major issue here. Flight attendants would have to become the electronics supervisors. Rather than checking to see if devices are powered off, they would potentially be responsible for checking that airplane mode is enabled. This raises the potential for more confrontations with confused (or defiant) passengers and also significantly increases the expectations for the onboard duties of flight attendants.
Airlines are mostly backing up the flight attendants, suggesting the hybrid solution is essentially unenforceable and will ultimately create more challenges with their passengers and crews than the current solution.
In the meantime, passengers will have to continue the complete powering down of their electronics, but at least there's some hope for a future where you can play solitaire straight from takeoff to landing.
Want to know the reasoning behind turning electronics off in-flight? Check out our earlier article explaining the rules while also pointing out their inconsistencies.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Dreamstime
Member Comments Post a Comment
Be the first to comment!
Fodor's Top News & Features
- 10 US Islands Where You Can Beat the Winter Blues
- 5 Reasons to Go to Charleston, South Carolina Right Now
- 10 Best All-Inclusive Resorts for Families in the US
- 10 Great Spots in Paris with a Literary History
- Top 10 Places to Go This Spring
- 15 Budget-Friendly Spring Getaways for 2014
- World's Best Overwater Bungalows
- Fodor's Approved: 15 Most Stylish Women's Shoes for Travel
- Europe's Best City Escapes for Spring
- Where to Eat at This Year's SXSW Festival
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- $75 & up -- Ocean View Room at Myrtle Beach Resort, 30% OffThe Caribbean Resort & Villas
- $43 -- CA: Six Flags Magic Mountain Day Pass, Reg. $68Visit Santa Clarita
- $3999 -- Oceanview Suite: 10-Night Luxury Asia CruiseWindstar Cruises
- $118 & up -- Philadelphia Hotels on Sale, up to 75% Offtrivago
- $849 & up -- Balcony on Bahamas Cruise w/Unlimited DrinksNorwegian Cruise Line
- $1397 & up -- Ireland in Summer: 7-Nt. Vacation w/Air & CarGreat Value Vacations