FAA Could Allow Electronic Devices During Takeoff, Landing

Advisory group working on proposal that would allow e-readers, tablets but not cellphone calls

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    An advisory group is working on a proposal that would allow e-readers, tablets but not cellphone calls during flight takeoffs and landings. (Published Tuesday, June 25, 2013)

    Airline passengers may not have to turn off their electronic devices on takeoff and landing for much longer.

    Federal regulators are now considering whether it's safe to allow passengers to keep the devices turned on.

    Cellphone calls would not be allowed, but e-readers and other tablets could be -- a move even some flight attendants support.

    "It's a win for the passengers and it's less oversight needed by the flight attendants," said Audrey Stone, president of TWU Local 556 which represents Southwest Airlines flight attendants.

    An advisory group working on the proposal since January was supposed to report by the end of next month. It is said to be in favor of easing the restrictions, and has now been given more time to reach a final recommendation.

    "If this is something that the FAA decides is not detrimental to the aircraft, it's a win for the passengers and it would not interfere with us caring out our safety duties," Stone said.

    Stella Gonzalez, a traveler at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, said she thinks allowing the use of devices is a good idea if they don't interfere with the aircraft.

    But some travelers say they aren't convinced.

    "I do find it a bit safer just not having these large objects around, floating around the cabin," David Wallace said.

    The group is expected to make a final recommendation by the end of September.