“The days of keeping the iPad or Kindle off while a commercial flight is under 10,000 feet could end if U.S. aviation authorities heed an advisory panel,” Todd Shields reports for Bloomberg. “Airline passengers should be allowed to read e-books, send e-mail and browse websites throughout flights of Wi-Fi equipped planes, including during takeoff and landing, an advisory committee to the Federal Aviation Administration has concluded, a person familiar with panel’s work said today.”
“Mobile-phone calls and text messages would remain forbidden. They are separately banned over concerns the signals may interfere with ground networks,” Shields reports. “Broader use of on-board electronics would help Gogo Inc., based in Itasca, Illinois, which says it has 82 percent of the inflight Wi-Fi service market in North America, and Qualcomm Inc., which won preliminary regulatory clearance in May for an air-to-ground broadband service. Gogo’s revenue comes from connection and usage charges, and the relaxed rules would allow passengers to use Wi-Fi services longer.”
Shields reports, “The FAA now prohibits use of personal electronic devices while a plane is below 10,000 feet, with the exception of portable recorders, hearing aids, heart pacemakers and electric shavers. The restrictions are intended to prevent interference with flight controls. More access to gadgets makes for happier, calmer passengers, Henry Harteveldt, a San Francisco-based travel analyst with Hudson Crossing LLC, said in an interview. ‘The more distracted we are for work or entertainment, the less focused we are on the fact that legroom has shrunk, the amenities have disappeared,’ Harteveldt said.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: What about iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular models which use cellular connections when Wi-Fi is not available? We ask because we’ve never witnessed more than one other user besides ourselves per flight put their iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular into Airplane Mode before takeoff and we do take pains to observe how people are using their iPads, naturally.
Surely the FAA must know about this issue which leads us to conclude that cellular signals are really not an issue during takeoff and landing. They just want passengers’ attention focused on their mandated safety show, most likely.
U.S. FAA to finally relax rules for gadgets in flight – June 21, 2013
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