For many years, airlines have enforced rules restricting cell phone use on planes during takeoff and landing. Now, the Federal Aviation Administration will conduct a study to determine whether or not electronic devices can be used on flights during all times on flights.
Travelers living in world full of technology don't want to go too long without being able to use their electronic devices and cell phones, and the FAA recognizes this.
"This is an issue of consumer interest," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who supervises the FAA, said in a press release. "We must set appropriate standards as we help the industry consider when passengers can use the latest technologies safely during a flight."
A government investigative group consisting of airline representatives, mobile company representatives, aviation manufacturers, pilots, flight attendants and passengers will be formed to review the current policies. The group will conduct the study for six months, starting in the fall, to determine whether or not there can be more widespread use of devices on planes.
The study will exclude using mobile phones for voice calls during flights as many passengers don't want to be annoyed by people talking on the phone.
"We're looking for information to help air carriers and operators decide if they can allow more widespread use of electronic devices in today's aircraft," Michael Huerta, acting FAA administrator, said in a press release.
Previous technical documents have shown that electronic devices emit radio signals that can potentially interfere with equipment on a plane.
Despite popular traveler opinions about wanting to use cell phones and electronics on planes, airlines understand the importance of putting safety first.
"The safety of our passengers and crews remains our top priority and our members will work cooperatively with the FAA on opportunities to evaluate personal electronic devices to ensure customers can use these products safely during flight," Steve Lott, a spokesman for Airlines for America told Bloomberg. Airlines for America is a trade group that includes AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, Delta Air Lines Inc. and United Continental Holdings Inc.
In-flight Wi-Fi connections have allowed business travelers to work while planes are cruising, but they are told to turn their devices off while ascending and descending, which takes away more than 40 minutes of productivity.
Pilots have admitted to using devices such as iPads during takeoff, so passengers want the same benefits.