FAA Loosens Restrictions on Electronic Devices

Clear skies are ahead for those of us who like to stay connected when we fly. The Federal Aviation Administration is loosening up the rules on the use of portable electronic devices.

The FAA says announcements like this are going to be a thing of the past: "Any electronics with an on or off switch, we do ask that you please power them off and stow them until we reach 10,000 feet."

The agency is lifting its ban on the use of electronic devices during take offs and landings.

"Airlines can safely expand passenger use of portable electronic devices during all phases of flight," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

Individual airlines will have to do some additional interference testing. Then it will be up to them to decide when or if electronic devices still need to be turned off.

"In some instances of low visibility, about 1-percent of all flights, some landing systems will not be able to tolerate the interference," Huerta said.

During take offs and landings passengers should be able to read e-books or play games and watch movies on tablets, but no phone calls. Those are still off limits.

An advisory panel recommended the changes last month, but this announcement was delayed because a third of the FAA's staff was furloughed during partial government shutdown.

Some airlines could start to implement the changes before the busy Christmas travel season.

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