FAA Change a Big Win for Gadget-Obsessed Flyers

A 28-person committee created by the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, in the U.S. is proposing new changes that could be a big win for flyers who use personal electronics. The committee is suggesting that the FAA change its policies to allow flying consumers to be able to use most consumer electronic devices during the critical takeoff and landing phase of a flight.

This is a big change from current regulations that prohibit the use of any electronic equipment during takeoff and landing. Approved personal electronic equipment must be completely powered off during this stage of flight–airplane mode won’t suffice–and consumers can power on those gadgets after the plane reaches 10,000 feet or higher.

faalogoEven devices without wireless cannot be used, which means if you’re a reader of e-books, you cannot use your e-reader while your friend with a paperback can continue reading through the entire flight.

The decision will likely be welcomed by actor Alec Baldwin who made headlines when he was kicked off a United Airlines flight for refusing to turn off his phone as he was in the middle of playing the game Words with Friends. 

The aviation policy change isn’t expected to go into effect until 2014. The issue with the use of consumer electronics device had sparked a lot of opposition in the past from makers of gadgets to members of Congress. As the sole device-maker on the comittee, Amazon is championing the change.

“We’ve been fighting for our customers on this issue for years – testing an airplane packed full of Kindles, working with the FAA, and serving as the device manufacturer on this committee,” Amazon’s Drew Herdener told the Associated Press. “This is a big win for customers and, frankly, it’s about time.”

  

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