A friend of mine once said that if mobile devices on airplanes were really dangerous then terrorists would simply fly around with their phones on. As it turns out they aren’t as dangerous as perviously thought and the FAA is reportedly close to lifting some of the in flight restrictions.
A source close to the situation told the Associated Press that a 28 member FAA advisory committee has voted for change. While the committee has no official authority to change policy, they are influential and their recommendation is likely to make a difference.
The committee has advised to allow mobile devices to be used below 10,000 feet but would not permit data usage or phone calls. iPads could be used but only in airplane mode. Alec Baldwin would still have been in trouble under the new guidelines for playing games which required data on his phone.
“These devices are not dangerous. Your Kindle isn’t dangerous. Your iPad that is on airplane mode is perfectly safe,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who has been pressing the FAA to lift the restrictions, said in an interview.
Senator McCaskill promises legislation if the FAA doesn’t make changes. It’s frustrating that such efforts have to be made in the face of overwhelming evidence that mobile devices are not causing problems.
The one thing that the FAA can’t change is the ability for mobile users to make calls from airplanes. The Federal Communications Commission would have to approve and they claim that phones would jump from tower to tower and disrupt cellular networks. Is this another ghost issue like the FAA claiming mobile devices interfere with airplane operations or is this a known fact? Senator McCaskill can tackle that next.
[via Associated Press]