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FAA committee recommends lifting in-flight tech restrictions

updated 05:31 am EDT, Fri September 27, 2013

Advisory panel suggests relaxing ban on device usage at takeoff, landing

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be taking another look at its rules preventing passengers from using electronic devices during takeoff and landing from next week. A high-level 28-member advisory committee examining the issue has recommended that the FAA relaxes the rules, with the formal report on the discussions being presented to the FAA on Monday.

Current rules ask for mobile devices to be switched off for both take-off and landing, until the plane reaches an altitude of 10,000 feet and higher. The Associated Press reports that these new recommendations will at least allow for the devices to be switched on and used during these periods, but Wi-Fi and access to a mobile phone network will still be forbidden fro the periods.

"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 manager on this committee," said Amazon spokesperson Drew Herdener, continuing "This is a big win for customers and, frankly, it's about time."

While the move is promising, the rules are still far from being changed. The FAA can go against the recommendations of the committee, though this is unlikely. If the FAA does adopt the changes, then restrictions on device usage at the start and end of flights could be lifted by early 2014, or later if it requires carrier-by-carrier approval.

by MacNN Staff



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