FAA May Relax In-Flight Electronic Device Usage Rules For Passengers

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is under criticism for applying outdated in-flight device usage policies for some time. Last year, in August, the agency announced to re-evaluate its in-flight electronic device usage policy. The re-evaluation seems to be bringing good news for the general public, according to a report by the New York Times.


Boeing 787 Dreamliner

According to people related to an industry working group set up by FAA to study the use of portable electronic devices on planes, the agency may announce a relaxed set of rules on usage of reading devices in-flight. The new rules will encompass a variety of devices including those not in the market now. However, the change would not permit cellphone usage on board.

FAA was under pressure to allow reading devices in-flight, or provide solid scientific evidence against it. The pressure on the agency increased after people pointed out some anomalies in its policies. These anomalies include FAA’s decision to allow iPad for pilots and flight attendants as service manuals, and allowing electric razors and audio recorders on board even though these gadgets are subject to higher electromagnetic emission compared to reading devices.

Some influential people including Senator Claire McCaskill and FCC chairman Julius Genachowski were also very vocal about FAA’s outdated in-flight device usage rules. Senator McCaskill plans to introduce legislation to hold FAA accountable for its decisions in this regard.

The study report of the industry working group on in-flight device usage policy may come out by July 31. The new rules could be in place by early 2014.

Source: NYT

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