Hate powering down before take-off? If an FAA Advisory committee gets their way, you may not have to much longer. A 28-member committee voted on Thursday to recommend a change in regulation that would allow airline passengers to use smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices below 10,000 feet. The recommendation will be sent to the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday, and then the FAA will make the final call on whether or not to ease the current restrictions. (As it stands, airline passengers must shut down all electronic devices during takeoff and landing to prevent interference with the plane's equipment. Those who refuse can be kicked off the plane.)
If the FAA chooses to take the committee's advice, passengers will no longer need to completely power off devices, but they'll still need to switch some to airplane mode -- talking on the phone, surfing the web and downloading data will continue to be prohibited.
"You will not be able to play 'Words With Friends,' you will not be able to shop, you will not be able to surf websites or send email," Henry Harteveldt, an airline and travel industry analyst with Hudson Crossing, told the Associated Press.
"You will be able to read or work on what's stored on the device," he said. "You want to edit that PowerPoint? Great. You want to watch 'Breaking Bad' and you have it downloaded to your smartphone or your tablet? You can continue to do that."
If the FAA decides to go with a fast implementation track, passengers could see restrictions lifted by early 2014.