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Electronics On Planes: FAA May Ease Restrictions On Gadget Use During Flights, WSJ Reports

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Passengers may soon be able to use electronics on planes for longer periods of time as the FAA is set to release the findings of an expert panel in September. (Photo via Getty) | Getty

Good news, gadget users: You may soon be able to use your electronics on planes for longer periods of time.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Aviation Administration is looking to ease its restrictions that bar passengers from only using certain types of electronics devices during allotted intervals on flights.

However, the eased regulations will likely apply only to specific gadgets, and, as the WSJ report notes, full use of mobile phones will probably still be prohibited.

The FAA first announced that it would reevaluate its ban on gadgets last year and assembled a panel of experts to conduct a formal review in August. At the time, the announcement was met with much with fanfare from gadget users, but some warned that frequent flyers shouldn't get their hopes up, since the implementation would likely take a considerable amount of time.

As New York Times columnist Nick Bilton indicated in September: "The current system of testing electronics devices will most likely have to change before gadgets can be used during takeoff and landing. The agency’s rules state that an airline must test each iteration of a device on each type of plane, without passengers, before it can be approved."

Given the rapid pace at which new models of devices are introduced, the sheer number of tests that would have to be conducted would, in and of itself, be a cause for delay. The FAA also announced Friday that the panel of experts will not release its final recommendation until late September, according to Reuters.

Currently, the FAA allows passengers to turn on certain devices, such tablets and music players, after take-off once the airplane reaches a cruising altitude of 10,000 feet. While there is little conclusive proof that personal electronic devices negatively interfere with a plane's instrument panel and navigation system, the FAA has nonetheless imposed the heavy-handed restrictions as a precaution.

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