FAA to lift mobile shut-down rule

The unpopular requirement that passengers shut electronics down during take-off and landing will soon be lifted, as long as communications capabilities are disabled.
Written by Larry Seltzer, Contributor

An advisory panel in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will soon recommend relaxation of most of the restrictions on the use of mobile electronics during take-off and landing, according to a report in the New York Times.

The advisory panel is meeting this week. The policy recommendation should come by the end of the month and go into effect next year.

The panel will recommend allowing the use of devices with the exception of radio communications, such as Wifi, text messaging and cellular data or telephony. In other words, a phone in "Airplane Mode" should be acceptable, where under the current rule passengers were required to shut such devices down until told otherwise.

The rule has been a source of friction between passengers and crews, most famously when actor  Alec Baldwin was kicked off a United flight for refusing to stop playing Words with Friends. The rule is also widely flouted.

The Times says that interference with navigational equipment from mobile devices has been reported hundreds of times, but is anecdotal and no conclusive link has been established.  The article states unreservedly that mobile voice communications do interfere with communications.




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