A committee created by the Federal Aviation Administration recommended earlier today that airline passengers be allowed to use specific types of consumer electronics during takeoff and landing. Under the panel’s advice, usage of devices like iPhones, iPods, and iPads would be allowed as long as those devices are switched to airplane mode, which disables internet and cellular connections to prevent calls and data transfers.

This doesn’t mean you’ll be able to use these deviecs on a plane anytime soon, but the recommendations have been passed to top FAA brass, who will now decide whether or not to implement the panel’s well-researched findings. As is usually the case with government, the process of approving and implementing these changes will likely take time. At the earliest these new policies could take effect next year, although it’s quite possible it may take much longer than that.

Still, this is a step in the right direction for consumers who just want to listen to a few songs or get started on an ebook during takeoff before a long flight.

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5 Responses to “FAA committee recommends allowing use of some electronics during takeoff”

  1. Dillon Baio says:

    I’m honestly curious about this. If this is approved and you no longer have to put your devices in airplane mode during takeoff and landing, what will they call airplane mode? Surely they won’t still be able to call it airplane mode. That’s like, skeuomorphism for words. A metaphor to something that doesn’t have to be done anymore.


    • I think you misread the article (and perhaps have not understood the FAA rules :P). Right now, during takeoff and landing, your phone is supposed to OFF. Not off as in put in airplane mode, but off as in powered down.

      What is being proposed is that people are allowed to use their devices in airplane mode during takeoff and landing, which is something I suspect many people (including perhaps yourself?) already do. How many stewards/stewardesses are going to walk through a cabin, row-by-row and ask to see everyone’s personal electronic device to confirm its not powered on at all?


      • Dillon Baio says:

        I actually just skimmed the article, and have always been under the assumption that, since it is called airplane mode, you could just turn that on during takeoff and landing. I’ve never flown on a commercial flight and didn’t know you had to turn them completely off. Until this is passed, and all the way up until now, what has been/is the point of airplane mode if you can’t use it on an airplane? Seems like they should just call “powered off” airplane mode if that’s the only thing that’s been accepted so far.


    • Airplane mode is still recommended for once you are in flight so you can ensure that all radios in the devices are disabled. So as of now you are supposed to power the device completely off during take off and landing and then once you reach generally around 10,000 to 15,000 feet on take off they allow you to turn them back on but in airplane mode if your device has it.


  2. Chris Cross says:

    That’s a great idea.
    I mean, I have taken the plane several times, and wanted to play with my iphone during take-off, while being in airplane mode. And every time, the hostess told me to put the phone away.
    I remember finding that all very contradictory with the fact that more and more airlines are issuing ipads to the pilots, in order to replace all the papers they have ; and I doubt that these ipads are off/not used during take off or landings.
    I think this rule is just a way for airlines to insure that the passengers aren’t messing around with phones that could not be in airplane mode….