Tablet restrictions on airplanes may be eased soon

Those who use electronic tablets may be getting a break when they fly on airplanes, as the FAA is considering loosening the restrictions on their use during takeoff and landing.

In the last 25 years, the FAA and a number of independent testing labs have tested every conceivable electronic device at more than 100 times their radio frequency interference less than two feet from every cockpit instrument you can imagine and -- guess what? -- there's been no interference with flight control whatsoever, reports CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg.

So the evidence for the likely coming change, which was first reported by the New York Times, has been there for quite some time.

What changed things was that last year the FAA allowed some airline pilots to use their iPads in the cockpit. That started the ball rolling towards the loosening of certain restrictions.

Smartphones are not included in the consideration for looser restrictions because their use is governed by the FCC, and many hope that won't change, Greenberg reports.

The FAA is only going to deal with readers and tablets and maybe some other electronic devices at altitudes of below than 10,000 feet.

The argument has been that you couldn't use them below 10,000 feet, but Greenberg argues that those lower altitudes are actually the exact time they should be allowed: below below 10,000 feet, the pilot is in positive control of the airplane. If something were to happen, the pilot could actually override controls. At 35,000 feet, when you're traveling nearly 600 miles an hour, any small change to the flaps or something similar could destroy the plane.

So there hasn't been a lot of logic in the current FAA rules, and it's finally coming home to roost, Greenberg says.

There always has been an overabundance of caution in these cases, but now it's flying in the face of common sense and actual evidence.

Greenberg reports he doesn't know of a single frequent flyer who doesn't want to sit on the window seat so they can cheat. Nobody's turning their stuff off and everybody knows it.

And every once in a while when someone brazenly ignores the rule, like Alec Baldwin infamously did, you hear about it.

People are starting to say, "This is silly. If you don't change it, I will."

Comments

Follow Us

The Newsroom