FAA loosens restrictions on electronics use

Thursday, October 31, 2013

FAA loosens restrictions on electronics use

One of the most notorious rules implemented by the Federal Aviation Administration may soon be lifted. Since the advent of smartphones and tablets, fliers have been told they need to turn of the devices during take-off and landing because the electronics might interfere with the sensitive equipment the pilots use. The rule has come under significant criticism, and this week the FAA announced that it had loosened the restrictions and now passengers can use their smartphones, tablets, e-readers and other electronics during almost the entire duration of the flight, Reuters reported. 

Not immediate
The announcement will likely come as good news to millions of travelers who need to use their devices before checking into serviced apartments, but the changes will not all happen at once. It will be up to each individual airline to prove to the FAA that it is capable of implementing the new regulations. The move was applauded by industry insiders who said that anything that improves the passenger's experience is a step in the right direction.

"We're pleased the FAA recognizes that an enjoyable passenger experience is not incompatible with safety and security," Roger Dow, U.S. Travel Association president and CEO, said in a prepared statement. "What's good for the traveler is good for travel-related businesses and our economy."

A long time coming
Although the FAA made the announcement on Thursday, the new regulations have been a long time in the making. The administration first began considering allowing passengers to use their devices back in June, according to The Wall Street Journal. Industry insiders speculate that the impetus for the policy change was the fact that the rules had remain largely unchanged for decades, despite the fact that both the technology use in planes and the devices used by passengers had become significantly more complex. 

Not only was the change spurred by the rapidly evolving tech world, but it was viewed as necessary by many because a large number of passengers weren't adhering  to the rules that were in place, the news source reported. Analysts also suspect airlines will be quick to adapt to the new restrictions because it provides them a businesses opportunity - namely to sell passengers access to Wi-Fi.