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FAA to Allow Tablets, E-Readers Throughout Flights

By Stephanie Valera
Published: October 31, 2013

Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

Airline passengers soon will be able to use devices such as tablets and e-readers throughout flights, the Federal Aviation Administration announced Thursday.

The agency will be loosening guidelines on passenger electronic devices use during takeoff and landing, allowing the use of tablets, e-readers, DVD players and video game consoles during these critical phases of flight, according to NBC News. Connecting to the Internet remains prohibited when the plane is less than 10,000 feet in the air.

Voice calls also remain prohibited during the entire flight, under a Federal Communications Commission rule, according to USA Today.

(MORE: World's Scariest Airport Runways)

The timing of the changes will depend on individual airlines due to differences in equipment, but an FAA statement said it expects "many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year."

The FAA's revised guidelines are in line with the recommendations presented to it by a 28-member advisory committee, representing airlines, manufacturers, electronics makers, pilots and flight attendants, in September, CNBC reported. The agency has come under increasing pressure in recent years from those who have argued the devices pose little threat and that most commercial airplanes can tolerate radio interference signals.

Before an airline switches to the relaxed guidelines, airlines will have to prove to the FAA that their aircraft can tolerate the interference. Airlines have, over the years, built newer planes with portable electronics in mind, hardening them against electromagnetic interference, according to CNN.

MORE:  The Golden Age of Travel

Circa1908: American pioneer aviator Wilbur Wright. (Branger/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


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