Gadget obsessed travelers rejoice: You will soon no longer be required to spend the first and last 15 minutes of a flight flipping through SkyMall, as the Federal Aviation Administration is preparing to let fliers turn on that iPad or Kindle for the duration of your entire time in the air. As a part of new regulations to be released in September, the FAA plans to lighten up some of its restrictions on electronics devices before take-off and landing, reports The Wall Street Journal's Andy Pasztor. Instead of the usual plea to power down everything until the plane hits an appropriate altitude, the FAA is considering two additional in-flight announcements, including one that lets passengers use their gadgets from gate-to-gate. On certain planes, a flight attendant will say something like: "This aircraft tolerates emissions from electrical devices for all phases of flight." You hear that, Nick Bilton? You won your battle for 15 extra minutes of iPad time — sort of.
The new rules will have some exceptions: "Electrical devices" will not actually include all gadgets — cell phones will still have to stay off for the duration of the flight. ("The FAA didn't authorize the panel to delve into that particularly controversial area," reports the Journal.) In addition, the lux new regulations will not apply to all flights. Some flight attendants will still ask all passengers to "turn off and stow away all electronic devices." Others will allow captains to ask that certain electronics stay off because they could interfere with certain types of "instrument landings."
Indeed, the updated regulations don't meet all the demands of tech-obsessed, book-hating whiners like Bilton and his small but mighty group of supporters: He thinks planes should allow all electronics all the time because doesn't believe that they interfere with anything at all. But Bilton seemed satisfied enough when he heard hints of the new plan back in March. And, really, everyone should thank the hero for bringing this really important issue to the forefront of the FAA's agenda.