The news just keeps getting better for tech-addicted travelers. According to the Wall Street Journal, a special panel has recommended that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration ease restrictions on Wi-Fi use during all parts of commercial flights. This new detail follows word that the panel also found that it is safe to use smartphone, tablets, ebook readers, laptops, and other popular electronics devices throughout takeoff and landing.
At present, FAA rules dictate that fliers must turn off their gadgets when their plane is at an altitude lower than 10,000 feet.
The details of the Wi-Fi recommendation come courtesy of a senior Amazon executive Paul Misener, who served on the panel. Misener, Amazon’s vice president of global public policy, says that the panel stopped short of recommending the FAA allow “gate-to-gate” Wi-Fi use, but instead suggested simpler tests to determine the safety of Wi-Fi systems commonly used by airlines. According to Misener, most aircraft will be “just fine” when Wi-Fi is used below 10,000 feet.
If the FAA chooses to adopt the panels recommendations, cellular wireless service will remain prohibited due to potential interference with aircraft’s systems.
While the FAA assigned the panel to investigate the safety of in-flight technology use, there is no guarantee that the agency will adopt the committee’s recommendations. If the FAA does change its gadget rules, the new mandates could go into effect by 2014.