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Electronic Gadgets For Passengers, Not Pilots?

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The FAA Tuesday published a proposed rule that would ban flight crews from using personal electronic devices in the cockpit (job-related tools excepted), but the same day a press release from industry representatives pushed for approval of use of the devices in the cabin. The panel, hosted by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), met at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 10.  On the whole, the group "largely favored the looser restrictions that exist in other regions in the world," according to a press release from APEX and CEA. They offered an opinion poll conducted by Amazon.com in support of their position. And noted that their interests also economically based.

The Amazon poll asked customers about their feelings regarding FAA regulations. The results indicated to Amazon that customers were frustrated with the rules and skeptical about their benefits. Aside from the feelings of passengers, the APEX/CEA press release suggests potential economic benefits. "Airlines and vendor companies could benefit" from looser restrictions affecting use of personal electronic devices on airplanes. The panel meeting was attended by "more than 70 people," according to APEX/CEA, which said its panel proceeded to "pick apart" current U.S. policy restricting use of personal electronics. A video, "Taking Flight: New Approaches to the Use of Consumer Electronics on Airplanes," was presented at the meeting offering arguments in support of looser regulation and noting the potential for job creation if rules are loosened, allowing for entrepreneurial development of onboard services. 

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