I know those flight attendants are just doing their job, but I’ve always resented being made to “turn off” my iPhone and iPad during pre-flight announcements. Ever since Mythbusters disproved it, I’ve never believed that there was a problem between my iPad’s wireless connection and the airplane’s signaling (especially in Airplane Mode, which is what it’s for, right?), and I’ve always secretly suspected that turning things off was just a ploy to make me rewatch those safety instructions yet again.
Now, finally, it looks like the FAA is ready to relax those rules, after another report saying that there are no issues between consumer wireless devices, and airplane tools. The regulations themselves date back to the 1960s, when wireless devices were indeed very different, and it’s about time these rules were laid to rest. Note, however, that the report doesn’t mention actual phone calls — this change, if made, would only be about turning devices on and off, not full wireless interaction.
Certainly, there are good reasons to keep flight passengers quiet and paying attention during pre-flight announcements, and if that’s what this is all about, then they should say that. But the “wireless interference” story has always been bunk, and hopefully, if this report is finalized, we should see the FAA turn the rule around officially in a few months.
FAA planning to let you use your gadgets in flight originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 21 Jun 2013 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.