We all know we’re supposed to turn our devices off at take-off and landing when traveling via air, however, not many of us actually know why. The Federal Aviation Administration rules have been a tad cloudy, and so the organization is meeting to perhaps relax this rule a bit under the pressure of tech-savvy flyers.
The New York Times reveals that the agency will loosen restrictions, however the caveat is you still wouldn’t be able to send and receive calls or connect to Wi-Fi, unless it’s provided by the airline.
The details are still being finalized by an advisory panel, but we’re expected to be able to keep listening to our music, read our Kindles or binge-watch Doctor Who on our iPads pretty much whenever.
Current F.A.A. rules haven’t changed much since 1966, and pilots have been iffy on changing the device rule since they report some have interfered with cockpit instruments. There has been no confirmation of this phenomenon. Some aviation experts say that most portable electronics use so little power that they can't cause problems with a plane's electronics.
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The FAA advisory panel is expected to make its formal recommendation by the end of September, and the new policy would likely go into effect in 2014.
Back in 2004, Air and Space Magazine said that mobile devices “can emit powerful electromagnetic radiation that can muck up an aircraft’s navigation and communication systems and actually endanger a flight.”
The FCC prohibits the use of cellular phones using the 800 MHz frequency and other wireless devices on airborne aircraft. The ban was put in place because of potential interference to wireless networks on the ground.
The technological shift, however, has changed how we travel and communicate, and many airlines have been offering in-flight services, like high-speed Internet.
“Because these services will operate in frequencies that are dedicated to air-to-ground communications and are separate from those used for wireless services on the ground, they do not pose an interference risk to wireless networks on the ground,” according to the FCC’s website.
The new recommendations will be welcome by all, perhaps, and most especially, by Alec Baldwin, who was kicked off a Los Angeles-to-New York flight before take off for refusing to stop playing the online game Words With Friends on his phone.
Baldwin let out a storm of tweets reaming American Airlines for its conduct: "United Airlines should buy Words With Friends," Baldwin tweeted, propping up a competitor to American Airlines.
Edited by Alisen Downey