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FAA to reevaluate policies on in-flight electronics

One of the most, if not most, annoying things about travelling by air is the fact you must switch off any personal electronic devices before takeoff until you reach cruising altitude. Nick Bilton of the New York Times recently got in contact with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and learnt that they intend to take a “fresh look” on the electronic device ban during takeoff and landing.

We have all been here: "please now turn off all electronic devices, and enable flight mode if your device supports it"

Don’t get too excited just yet though, the approval process for each device is rather lengthy right now. Currently for a device to be certified for use during takeoff and landing each model needs to be tested on an empty flight, one at a time. While that sounds costly enough as it is, airlines must also test it on each plane. Although this isn’t clear if it is every single plane or rather a Boeing 737-400, an Airbus A320 etc.

To top it all off certifications can’t be shared between airlines. Although this does means that the likes of American Airlines could market themselves as being the only airline where passengers can use their iPad during takeoff and landing, albeit with the fine print stating it must be the original iPad 16 GB Wi-Fi only version.

This is why FAA says that is it going to reevaluate the current policies itself and is now trying to work with “manufacturers, consumer electronic associations, aircraft and avionics manufacturers, airlines, pilots, flight attendants and passengers” to solve the problem of electronic devices getting approval for use.

Kitguru says: With extra devices such as tablets becoming common place this is a welcome step in the right direction.

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