Panel Of Experts Will Tell FAA It’s Pretty Much Okay To Leave Electronics On

Hey Alec Baldwin — if you’re still hopelessly devoted to Words With Friends, you should be getting gosh darn pretty excited right about now. A new report says the Federal Aviation Administration is going to get a talking to by a panel of experts who say it’s okay to leave electronic devices on at low altitudes. This will take away my favorite pastime of giving the stinkeye to the guy next to me still blasting his music during takeoff, however.

The Wall Street Journal says the FAA is looking at draft recommendations from an advisory panel that would allow passengers to keep some personal electronics on during takeoff, taxi and landing. In other words, the fun parts where I need to be distracted from rocketing upward/plummeting downward.

A spokeswoman for the FAA says the panel has until September to finalize those recommendations, and until then, there’s not much to say about which way the wind will take the agency’s current rules.

“The FAA recognizes consumers are intensely interested in the use of personal electronics aboard aircraft. That is why we tasked a government-industry group to examine the safety issues and the feasibility of changing the current restrictions,” the spokeswoman said in an email.

“At the group’s request, the FAA has granted a two-month extension to complete the additional work necessary for the safety assessment. We will wait for the group to finish its work before we determine next steps.”

These new recommendations don’t cover the use of cell phones, however, as using those on airplanes is under an entirely separate set of rules. So these possible changes will likely only allow for tablets, iPods or e-readers. That’s better than nothing though, right, Alec?

FAA to Relax Rules for Gadgets in Flight [Wall Street Journal]