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Thursday, October 31, 2013

FAA Eases on Electronic Usage

Everyone who's ridden a plane knows that electronic devices are strictly prohibited during take-off and landing at an airport. This is not a flight attendant wanting to ruin your Words with Friends game, *cough* Alec Baldwin *cough*, but actually a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guideline that all airlines are required to follow.

As technology has improved, we have seen new innovations that allow for new modes of communication. When many of these FAA policies were first installed, there was no such thing as WiFi or Airplane Mode. Now, in the year 2013, the federal agency is letting off on the leash a little bit for the airlines who show that their systems can handle a little more interference from our pesky devices.

While the FAA is giving clearance, don't expect to take a flight tomorrow and see the changes immediately. Not all airlines nor airplanes are equipped with these mandatory pieces of equipment. The FAA is requiring inspection before they give a green light to the airlines to allow new changes.

So what does this mean for us as citizens? According to this MSN article, netbooks and notebooks will still need to be put away for fear that they could physically injure someone in the nearby vicinity. Cell phone calling is still restricted as that is not under the FAA but under another federal agency, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

While the article doesn't explicitly mention it, it appears that WiFi enabled airlines will be given more slack as they are more resistant to interference from the newer devices of recent years.

This is something to think for those of you who use airlines and require use of mobile technology. Perhaps it would be in your best interest to choose an airline with newer jets?

What do you think of the new decision to change the policy? Is it good or bad?

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