Flying Without Devices May Soon Be a Thing of the Past

US Airways Airplanes

Pretty soon, air travelers may no longer hear instructions to turn off their personal electronic devices including e-readers, tablets, and smartphones on airplanes flying below 10,000 feet. According to Bloomberg, an advisory committee to the Federal Aviation Administration has officially concluded that passengers onboard airplanes should be allowed to access their devices even during takeoff and landing.

The recommendations made to the FAA by the 28-member committee reflect a change in the current policy that prohibits the use of devices while a plane is below 10,000 feet — except in the case of portable recorders, hearing aids, heart pacemakers and electric shavers. However, any new mandate would still require that some devices be switched to airplane mode, and mobile phone calls and text messages would remain forbidden.

The pressure for a rule change comes as passengers increasingly voice their dissatisfaction with a regulation that many flight crew members and pilots already ignore. USA Today highlights that many fliers now complain about airline employees increasingly using their personal devices inflight, and it is also understood that pilots employ the use of iPads and other tablet devices in the cockpit, as well.