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FAA giving serious consideration to letting passengers use electronics during takeoff (finally!)

Federal Aviation Administration agrees to join 21st century, reconsider archaic law

Turn off electronics sign

Did you hear that? That’s Alec Baldwin jumping up and screaming in sheer, unadulterated joy.

Why? Because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is giving super-serious consideration to up-ending one of its laws most in need of updating – that is, having all passengers shut off their phones, laptops, and tablets during takeoff.

Electronic devices on plane

The FAA has announced that they’ll be forming a new committee to study, analyze, and reconsider the issue (they’re taking this issue that seriously). It means Mr. Baldwin stands the very real chance of being able to play Words with Friends on his iPad until his heart’s content on any of his future flights.

Alec Baldwin photo
Cheers mate!

Heck, if you have a groovy bunch on the plane with you, you could even play Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird on your Boombotix portable mini speaker during takeoff.

Andy why not? It’s not like any of these devices are actually going to be powerful enough to take an entire plane system down – I step outside my house and instantly I lose the Wi-Fi on my phone. There’s no signal muscle to these things.

The FAA released this note detailing their decision to get together to make a decision:

The government-industry group will examine a variety of issues, including the testing methods aircraft operators use to determine which new technologies passengers can safely use aboard aircraft and when they can use them. The group will also look at the establishment of technological standards associated with the use of PEDs [portable electronic devices] during any phase of flight. The group will then present its recommendations to the FAA. The group will not consider the airborne use of cell phones for voice communications during flight.

The latter point is fine. I mean really, I have no interest in listening to some dude yapping away on a phone the entire way of the trip.

Pouring through the rest of the release, the FAA says that they expect their study to be completed by March 2013. There is no information on how soon the changes – if any – will be implemented, although knowing how fast our government is when it comes turning policy into action, it might be a while before everyone’s taking photos with Instagram and posting it to Facebook with captions like “OMG look how high up we r after takeoff! Hi San Francisco belowww! Tag: Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, Cousin, Friend, Friend of Friend. #IMFLYING #SOHIGH #AAAHHH!!!

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