FAA to discuss lifting restrictions on the use of in-flight devices on US flights



Airline passengers may soon be able to listen to iPods, watch videos and read from Kindles during takeoff and landing.

A Federal Aviation Administration committee advisory panel is meeting Tuesday and Wednesday to complete its recommendations to relax restrictions on the use of electronic devices.

Bloomberg reports that the panel will recommend that the FAA permit the use of e-mail, text and web surfing as well as allow e-readers and MP3 players during takeoff and landing. Recommendations won’t include the use of in-flight calls, which the panel isn’t considering.  Current FAA guidelines require that airlines prohibit the use of all devices until a plane climbs above 10,000 feet, although a recent study showed that one-third of passengers reported they've accidently left their portable electronic devices (PED) turned on during a flight. 

The airline industry and labor committee members, who have been meeting since January, had been scheduled to make recommendations in July, but the FAA extended the deadline to this month.

"The FAA recognizes consumers are intensely interested in the use of personal electronics aboard aircraft," the FAA said in a written statement. "That is why we tasked a government-industry group to examine the safety issues and the feasibility of changing the current restrictions. The group is meeting again this week and is expected to complete a report to the FAA by the end of the month. We will wait for the group to finish its work before we determine next steps."

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The expected decision to ease restrictions is good news to the legions of fliers tethered to their electronic devices who've been pressuring the FAA to ease restrictions.  

But the Association of Flight Attendants is one group opposed to allowing passengers to use devices during landing and takeoff because they may become dangerous flying objects in a crash, Bloomberg reports.