Soon airline passengers may not have to turn off their e-readers or laptops during takeoff and landing. For many frequent travelers, the announcement asking users to turn off their devices comes as a major annoyance. Many have questioned whether or not it is even truly necessary to power down such devices. Partly in reaction to questions from the public regarding the science behind this rule, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been investigating the use of electronics on planes. The findings of the investigation are expected to be announced to the public on July 31, 2013.
However, it has already been reported by the New York Times that the FAA may be planning on relaxing the current restrictions. Instead of turning off all devices, the FAA is expected to allow travelers to switch their electronic devices to airplane mode. According to the report, restrictions would only be easing on devices like laptops or e-readers. Restrictions on phones are likely to still stand, requiring airline travelers to continue to keep their phones off.
As part of its investigation into the use of these type of devices, the FAA has met with several key companies. A panel of industry leaders was convened to study the issue, with people from aircraft makers, Boeing, Amazon, the Consumer Electronics Association, the Association of Flight Attendants, and the Federal Communications Commission. The group had several key objectives including determining the meaning of the term “airplane mode” and making sure that the new rules can apply to devices that aren’t yet on the market. That factor is particularly important as the trend in wearable computers means that users will be incorporating more and more devices into their everyday lives. It is important that the new guidelines also cover questions regarding Google glasses and other devices that will hit markets in the future.
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