FCC asks FAA to re-examine rules on in-flight device use
Chairman Julius Genachowski of the Federal Communications Commission has sent a letter to Michael Huerta, acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, calling for a relaxation of rules regarding the use of electronic devices on airplanes.
Current regulations prohibit the use of personal electronic devices during takeoff and landing, allowing devices such as tablets and DVD players, for example, to be turned on only after the plane reaches an altitude of 10,000 feet. Historical and anecdotal evidence shows that the use of gadgets isn't a safety issue, though the device rules of most airlines around the world mirror those of the FAA.
"This review comes at a time of tremendous innovation, as mobile devices are increasingly interwoven in our daily lives," writes Genachowski in the letter. "They empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family, and they enable both large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient, helping drive economic growth and boost U.S. competitiveness."
The letter does not appear to consider the use of voice communications in airplane. Also, electronic devices with cellular radios are also expected to stay off for the entire flight.
Personally, I thought Rick Burgess of TechSpot summed up the situation well when he wrote: "But let's be honest here: how many of you actually power down your smartphone during a flight, as opposed to enabling 'Airplane Mode'."