Skip to main content

You may soon be able to use your gadgets during takeoff and landing

you will soon be able to use your gadgets during takeoff airplane flight ipad tablet gadget
Image used with permission by copyright holder
We’ve heard it before, but now it might actually come true: Using your gadgets during takeoff and landing on commercial flights may soon be allowed.

On Thursday, an FAA advisory panel officially voted to recommend that the agency lift restrictions on the use of smartphones, tablets, ebook readers, and other gadgets when a flight is below 10,000 feet, reports the Associated Press. Users would still have to keep their devices in airplane mode – meaning no phone calls, texts, or Web browsing during the start and end of flights – but basically any activity that doesn’t involve transmitting information wirelessly would be permitted, if the FAA follows the panel’s recommendations.

The advisory panel’s hearing was closed to the public, and the AP’s report on its recommendations are based on unnamed sources. This follows a similar report from The New York Times earlier this week, which was also based on anonymous sources. But we should have public confirmation soon, with the panel expected to deliver its findings to FAA leadership on Monday.

The panel’s vote to lift the ban on gadget use follows months of testing, with help from companies like Amazon. Company spokesman Drew Herdener told the AP that the panel’s findings are “a big win for customers, and frankly, it’s about time.”

The findings also have the support of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who has long fought for a change to the FAA’s policy on gadget usage. “These devices are not dangerous. Your Kindle isn’t dangerous. Your iPad that is on airplane mode is perfectly safe,” she told the AP.

Others are not as pleased with the potential change in policy. Some pilots have warned that they noticed interference with their airplane flight systems due to onboard gadgets – a potentially dangerous situation, if confirmed, especially during the crucial takeoff and landing phases of flights. Delta Airlines, however, told the FAA in a letter last year that out of 2.3 million flights, the airline received just 27 reports of “possible device interference,” according to the AP. But none of those instances were confirmed.

The gadget ban is not yet over, however. And it is possible that the FAA will choose not to follow the panel’s recommendations. To help ensure that the agency moves forward, McCaskill has warned FAA officials to “ask swiftly,” or she will introduce legislation that requires them to allow fliers to play Angry Birds anytime they like.

(Image courtesy Australian Business Traveller)

Editors' Recommendations

Andrew Couts
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Features Editor for Digital Trends, Andrew Couts covers a wide swath of consumer technology topics, with particular focus on…
The best stock-trading apps for iPhone and Android in 2023
The App Store on an iPhone, showing searching results for "stock trading apps."

Are you tired of traditional savings accounts not yielding the results you need? One alternative is to look to investing as the key to growing your wealth! But managing investments can be time-consuming, especially when you're always on the go. That's where stock-trading apps come in. With features like real-time market data and mock practice accounts, investment apps make investing accessible to investors at every level.

To help you make the most of your investments, we've compiled a list of the best stock-trading apps available for both iPhone and Android phones. Don't forget that investing always carries risk, so only invest money you can afford to lose. But if you have money you're comfortable investing, these are the 10 best investing apps you should use.

Read more
I compared two of the year’s best phones in an extreme camera test
The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra's rear panels.

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max (left) and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Apple versus Samsung is perhaps the ultimate battle in smartphones, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Galaxy S23 Ultra are the two brand’s top devices. If you want one, you may have also looked at the other, and even if not, who doesn’t want to see a tough camera battle between these two heavyweights?

Read more
reMarkable 2 digital notebook just got a rare discount
A person using the reMarkable 2 to take notes.

The reMarkable 2, a tablet that mimics the feel of writing and reading on paper, is available from Best Buy right now with a rare $50 discount on a bundle that includes the Marker Plus writing instrument and the Book Folio case. Instead of $550, you'll only have to pay $500, which is still fairly expensive but it's very much worth it. We're not sure how much time is remaining on the offer though, so if you think this will be a better purchase than other tablet deals, you should push through with the transaction as soon as possible.

Why you should buy the reMarkable 2 paper tablet
The reMarkable 2, the successor to 2017's reMarkable, improves upon the premise of the original version of the tablet -- it's like a pen and paper with smart capabilities. There's no backlight or glare on the display of this device for an eye-friendly reading experience, much like reading from real paper, and there are no distractions so you can focus on your work. In comparison, using a stylus on a tablet feels unnatural because of the friction-less glass, while the bright screen will strain your eyes and the notifications from your apps will keep distracting you.

Read more