Good news air travelers, you may soon have to quit pretending to turn your iPads and other electronics devices off before takeoff. According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, the FAA is expected to relax the ban on using some types of personal electronic devices at low altitudes.

Devices like iPads, e-readers and other tablets may see the rules relaxed to the point where they are usable throughout your entire flight—from takeoff to landing. However, cell phones, and more specifically cell phone calls, are expected to remain off limits due to the scope of the changes…

The Journal’s Andy Pasztor has the scoop:

“Airline passengers irritated at having to turn off their devices could soon see some reprieve, with regulators set to allow wider use of gadgets in flight.

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to relax the ban on using some types of personal-electronic devices at low altitudes, allowing passengers leeway during taxiing and even takeoffs and landings, according to industry officials and draft recommendations prepared by a high-level advisory panel to the agency.”

As it stands now, the FAA gives airlines leeway to independently evaluate the safety of specific devices to either allow them to remain on, or see that they’re turned off before takeoff. But it’s become par for the course for airlines to prohibit the use of all devices until planes reach 10,000 feet.

Honestly, we’ve been hearing about ‘supposed changes’ being made to these rules for a long time. So I’m at the point where I’ll believe it when I see it. But a few months ago, the FAA tasked a commission with doing in-depth research on the topic, and their findings fully support new guidelines.

“The FAA may be forced to act due to the sheer number of passengers flouting today’s rules. The experts who wrote the draft referred to recent industry research showing that nearly one-third of passengers reported that, at least once, they accidentally left some device on throughout a flight.

Unless the FAA eases its standards, the advisory group frets that “confidence in the FAA and the [industry’s] ability” to integrate personal electronic device usage will erode, and a “nonstandard system” of patchwork rules adopted by individual airlines “could emerge that further confuses the public.”

So where do things go from here? Well the group’s findings are expected to bolster arguments of lawmakers and safety experts who continue to assert that a vast majority of today’s portable devices pose little or no risk of interfering with aircraft systems. So if nothing else, it should speed things up.

Unfortunately, the Journal says that the FAA won’t likely make a formal decision on the matter until after it receives the final version of the advisory panel’s study, which isn’t due until the end of September.

  • Coolz3

    Like you said, I’ll believe it when I see it

  • RaviS13

    I love how you said “pretending to turn off your iPads”

  • Phil Gamboa

    How many times have you seen someone press and hold that power button…. Never.

  • The whole issue is dumb in my opinion!

    I have used cell phones while flying in personal aircraft (i.e. Cessna) for many years, in fact, private pilots have headsets that plug directly in to their mobile phone’s headphone jack, as well as in to the airplane’s comm system, thereby enabling the ability to use their mobile, while still listening to Air Traffic Control.

    So, the FAA is trying to tell us that a commercial jet which must cost hundreds of $ Millions of Dollars is so “fragile” and “vulnerable” that it will CRASH if you or I switch on our mobile phone or device!!! I say B.S.

    I know first-hand it is B.S., and have witnessed plenty of people switch on their mobiles during take off or landing.

    In fact, there have been a few times I personally saw people who were either talking on their phone, or texting during the take off / landing procedure of the commercial aircraft!!!! We didn’t crash, as I’m here blogging about it now!

    IMO, this is just another case of our “Big Brother” Government treating us like we are stupid little children, rather than focusing on more important social issues!

    • Kaptivator

      Yup, I have a Telex Stratus 30XT headset for use as a private pilot (Non Commercial, General Aviation). Its all a lie (cell phones causing interference). I think that they just don’t want everyone talking on their phones or using electronics while in a confined space during take offs and landings (most dangerous parts of a flight because of low altitude and little room for recovery. IMO).

      • It just happened to me again last night!

        I was on a flight from Chundu, China to Beijing, and during the actual take off from the runway, some Chinese lady was not only talking on her mobile, but she must have been hard of hearing, as she was speaking very loudly on her phone!

        Meanwhile, I had my iPhone on “Airplane” mode, listening to music…..

        The airplane didn’t “crash”!!!

        But, you may be right about not wanting everyone talking on ther phones in a confined space – have you ever been on a public bus and several people are talking (ahem… “YELLING”) on their phones???….. F-ing Nightmare!!! LOL!!!

      • Kaptivator

        Yes, I used to catch the bus when I worked down-town to avoid paying to park and the bus stop dropped me right outside of the building. I have to agree, I hate the yelling on the cell phones and hearing peoples entire conversation. Now, just imagine that on an airbus with 100-300 people on board and 25% are on their phones and or games/video/music volume on. Honestly, I think that its just a precaution.

  • Felix

    I’m from Israel, I can use the iPad in the air without any problem.