FAA Expected To Relax Cabin Electronics Rules
An Aviation Rulemaking Committee is expected to tell the FAA this week that the use of certain electronic devices in airline cabins should be allowed, The New York Times reported on Monday. The new guidelines, which would likely take effect next year, according to the Times, would allow passengers to use their tablets to access downloaded content such as e-books, podcasts, and videos, anytime they are on the plane, but the ban on using wi-fi during take-off and landing will probably remain. The ban on cellphone use in flight also is expected to remain in place.
Sources from the ARC told the Times the new FAA policy, when it takes effect, will require the airlines to certify that their airplanes' systems can tolerate interference from electronic devices, rather than trying to test every individual device that comes on the market. The ban on using cellphones aloft is not enforced by the FAA, but by the Federal Communications Commission, on the grounds that such calls can interfere with transmissions between cellphone towers on the surface. The ARC, which began its work in January, was originally scheduled to complete its report in July, but asked for more time.