Skip to main content

FAA may soon allow use of approved electronic devices during take-off & landing

iPad on an airplane
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Don’t blame the poor flight attendants who have to nag passengers to turn off all their gadgets during take-off and landing: they’re just following orders from the Federal Aviation Administration that say electronics that may affect the plane’s avionics need to be powered down.

The thing is, there is no scientific evidence that proves laptops and iPads interfere with flight electronics as The New York Times reported back in 2011, so why make flight attendants the gadget police and risk making passengers extra grumpy by denying them their personal sources of entertainment? With wearable computing like Google Glass and the Pebble smart watch just around the corner, the FAA knows it needs to fine-tune its policy on personal electronics on flights to find a balance between flight safety and passenger morale.

After looking into the issue of personal electronics on flights since August 2012, the agency is considering changing its rule for “reading devices” so that passengers can keep them on and in “Airplane Mode” even during take-off and landing. However, smartphones like iPhones will still need to be turned off. While the article did not specify what the agency considers to be a reading device, we are assuming e-readers like Kindles and Nooks will be allowed to stay on during the entire flight. The FAA already allows pilots to use iPads as flight manuals in the cockpit, so they should be safe enough for passengers to use. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense that the agency lets you whip out your electronic razor or voice recorder at any point during a flight, but not your Nintendo 3DS or laptop.

According to The New York Timees’ sources, the FAA could be announcing its change of heart by the end of this year, so you may be able to read your e-book during throughout your entire flight as soon as this Thanksgiving. Hopefully, the agency will open it up to allow more than just e-readers.

Gloria Sin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gloria’s tech journey really began when she was studying user centered design in university, and developed a love for…
Best Dell laptop deals: Cheap laptops starting at $280
The Dell XPS 13 9315 on a table against a window.

Dell is one of the best laptop brands, and it has just recently updated a lot of its models, so now is the perfect time to pick up a new laptop. It has one of the widest selections of laptops too and includes some of the best laptops overall, as well as some of the best gaming laptops on the market as well. Not only that but the Dell XPS is made to compete with the likes of the MacBook Air, although if you're more interested in budget laptops, Dell has a lot of those, too.
Of course, having so many options can be a bit overwhelming for somebody who isn't familiar with Dell or the laptop market, which is why we scoured the Dell website for our favorite picks and listed them below. This list has a lot of crossover with the best Dell XPS deals, student laptop deals and gaming laptop deals, so make sure to check out some of those other great laptop deals as well.

Dell Inspiron 15 -- $300, was $330

Read more
Lenovo gaming laptops are up to $700 off post-Memorial Day
The Lenovo Legion Pro 7 Gen 8 on a white background.

For great gaming laptop deals, check out the offers going on at Lenovo. There’s a huge sale on many great gaming laptops, meaning some of the best laptop deals available today. If you’re looking to buy a new gaming laptop, we’ve picked out two great models. That includes a great budget-friendly option and a premium choice. We’ve taken a look at both so you know what to expect.
Lenovo LOQ 15-inch gaming laptop -- $931, was $1,400

Lenovo is one of the best gaming laptop brands you can buy from so even its budget offerings are worth checking out. With the Lenovo LOQ 15-inch gaming laptop, you get a 13th-generation Intel Core i7-13700H processor, 16GB of memory, and 512GB of SSD storage. It also has an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 graphics card for all your gaming needs. That’s paired with a 15.6-inch full HD screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution. It has 45% NTSC with 350 nits of brightness and a 144Hz refresh rate so it can handle fast moving action with no risk of motion blur. Running suitably quietly, the Lenovo LOQ 15-inch gaming laptop is a good bet for mid-range gaming if you don’t mind tweaking some settings.

Read more
An OLED gaming handheld rises up to challenge the Steam Deck
Woman playing Steam Deck OLED.

In an unexpected turn of events, computing hardware manufacturer Zotac has announced it will unveil a new OLED gaming handheld next week at Computex 2024. All we know so far is that it's called the Zone and it has a 7-inch AMOLED touchscreen and two-stage adjustable triggers.

The announcement promises "high-performance," "quality controls," and "top-end specs" for the device -- but we'll have to wait until next week to see if the numbers warrant these descriptions.

Read more