Restrictions on the use of hand-held electronic devices on US aircraft are expected to be lifted.
A Federal Aviation Administration advisory committee has concluded that passengers can safely use hand-held electronic devices, including those connected to onboard Wi-Fi systems, during all portions of flights on nearly all US aircraft.
The committee’s report and its more than two dozen recommendations, which have not yet been released by the FAA, go further than industry officials previously suggested in recommending lifting current restrictions on such devices under 10,000 feet, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The panel determined that no matter what applications the devices are running or what wireless-transmission mode they are in, “the vast majority” of aircraft “are going to be just fine” from a safety standpoint, according to a senior Amazon official who headed the group’s technical sub-committee.
Nearly all airline fleets “already have been so dramatically improved and aircraft are so resilient” to electronic interference, according to Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of global public policy, that the committee concluded they would be safe for “gate-to-gate use” of such devices.
If the FAA follows the committee’s recommendations, passengers could potentially access email and the internet during all phases of flight – but only through an airline’s onboard Wi-Fi system, which usually requires a fee to use, and not through their own cellular data service.