An advisory committee is recommending that the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) ease its restrictions on electronic devices below 10,000 feet, finding current rules pointlessly prohibitive. The council's 28 members hail from the aviation industry and within the FAA.
Flyers today must shut down their phones, tablets, e-readers, and other gadgets to prevent interference with the plane's equipment during takeoffs and landings. Anyone who refuses to do so may be kicked off the plane, a la Alec Baldwin.
Most experts, and the advisory committee apparently, believe these fears of interference are groundless, although some in the industry disagree, as the Trip Doctor reported on last year.
If the FAA follows the panel's advice, passengers may be able to keep reading their e-books no matter the plane's altitude by early 2014, as long as they keep phones and tablets in Airplane Mode.
The T+L take? Getting rid of ineffective rules is always a good step, but if there are indeed safety concerns, we hope the FAA takes those into consideration moreso than a customer's desire to watch an extra episode of Orange is the New Black.
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure, and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.