U.S. FAA to finally relax rules for gadgets in flight

“Airline passengers irritated at having to turn off their devices could soon see some reprieve, with regulators set to allow wider use of gadgets in flight,” Andy Pasztor reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to relax the ban on using some types of personal-electronic devices at low altitudes, allowing passengers leeway during taxiing and even takeoffs and landings, according to industry officials and draft recommendations prepared by a high-level advisory panel to the agency,” Pasztor reports. “For fliers, the new rules would likely mean an end to familiar admonitions to turn off and stow all electronic devices. Cellphone calls are expected to remain off limits, however. The draft doesn’t make any recommendations regarding phone use because the FAA didn’t authorize the panel to delve into that particularly controversial area.”

Pasztor reports, “The FAA’s anticipated decision would relax the rules for use of approved devices from the time cabin doors close to when the plane reaches 10,000 feet. Some devices, such as e-readers, could even be used during all phases of a flight, if the FAA goes along with the thrust of the draft recommendations.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s about time!

Rejoice, Alec, rejoice!

Now, how are they going to tell Wi-Fi-only iPads from iPads with cellular capabilities?

Related articles:
Senate Democrat proposes bill to allow iPad, iPod use from takeoff to landing – March 8, 2013
American Airlines first commercial carrier with FAA approval to use Apple iPads in all phases of flight – September 11, 2012
FAA to study use of iPads, iPhone on airplanes during entire flight – August 28, 2012
F.A.A. taking ‘fresh look’ at passenger use of iPad, devices use during takeoff and landing – March 19, 2012


  1. …”Now, how are they going to tell Wi-Fi-only iPads from iPads with cellular capabilities?”

    By their backs. 3G (and 4G) models have a black plastic strip on the back, along the shorter edge, opposite the camera. This is where the radio antenna is supposedly located. WiFi-only models have clean aluminium everywhere.

    1. So now you expect flight personnel to ask passengers to remove all cases, turn the devices over and also be able to know all the devices out there?

      1. Well, there are just two devices that really matter anyway – iPad and iPad mini. The iPad has the same black plastic distinction across generations, and same bar differentiates the mini. I’m sure flight crews should be able to learn these two.

  2. Not enough people were using the phones embedded in the back of the passenger seats for ridiculous fees or using the “fee-for-use, return at the end of the flight” headphones. Maybe now the airlines will get rid of that negligible extra weight.

  3. There are tons of passenger takeoff and landing videos online, going back to the days of tape camcorders, and nothing dire seems to have ever happened.

  4. Take-off and landing are the most dangerous parts of the voyage. Passengers should be paying attention for instructions from the crew. They should not have loose items that can turn into deadly missiles in case of a mishap.

  5. “Now, how are they going to tell Wi-Fi-only iPads from iPads with cellular capabilities?”

    This is the government, remember? I guess they have to pass it in order to figure out how it works, just like the Healthcare Bill, as Pelosi famously said…

    I am glad they are looking at this finally. Very few people turn off their devices anyway, but just set them aside for a few minutes. So I think the safety experiment has already been done. Maybe it will make boarding smoother, if folks don’t have to worry about having to turn off soon so that they can get their bags stowed and take a seat (with both hands) and THEN have plenty of time to text, email and maybe even make their calls.

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