By Stephen Schenck | March 19, 2012 7:54 PM
When Alec Baldwin was kicked off a flight last year for using his smartphone to play a game, after the protestations of airline employees, it got a lot of people talking again about restrictions that keep us from fully enjoying our electronics for the entire duration of flights. There were a lot of questions over just why we really had these rules was there a real threat to plane systems, or did attendants just want to make sure everyone was paying attention? As it turns out, even the FAA is starting to reconsider the supposed threat electronics pose to modern planes, and may be about to start easing-up on the rules.
As it stands, the airlines have been the ones responsible for needing to prove that our gadgets wouldn’t cause their planes any harm. Rather than undertake the expense of testing themselves, they’ve just decided to let the blanket restrictions largely stand.
Since the airlines aren’t that interested, the FAA will be coordinating this new testing itself. That will include all sorts of electronic gadgets, including e-readers and tablets. Sadly, the agency won’t be testing smartphones, though we can at least partially understand where it’s coming from with devices intended to broadcast.
This is some great news that’s long overdue. It’s fantastic to hear that the FAA may put an end to all this fear-mongering that’s been lingering for years (would it honestly let planes off the ground if they could easily be brought-down by low-power RF emissions?) and start bringing air travelers into well, maybe they’re still catching-up to the late twentieth century, but it’s progress all the same.