Mobile Devices: FAA to Rethink In-flight Rules

The FAA will seek input from consumers and create a working group to determine new rules for mobile electronic devices on commercial flights.

by / August 28, 2012

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will spend six months deciding whether to change in-flight rules regarding personal electronics. Current rules designed to prevent interference with plane navigation equipment will be re-evaluated by a group composed of airline representatives, mobile phone companies, aviation manufacturers, pilots, flight attendants and passengers, the FAA announced Aug. 27.

Before the group meets, the public will be invited to share opinions on the matter through a 60-day “request for comments,” due to be published in the Federal Register on Aug. 28.

“With so many different types of devices available, we recognize that this is an issue of consumer interest,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a press release. “Safety is our highest priority, and we must set appropriate standards as we help the industry consider when passengers can use the latest technologies safely during a flight.”

The group will determine rules for personal electronics during flights, including the possibility of allowing passengers to make phone calls during flight. The group is also investigating the possibility of a set of standards for device manufacturers that could make smartphones and tablets airplane-friendly.