A federal advisory committee is preparing to tell the American Federal Aviation Administration that flights can handle switched-on gadgets at all stages, including takeoff and landing.
However, the suggestion will be limited to electronic kit that’s not connected to the web.
Passengers, if the move is given the go ahead, will be absolved of the burden of small talk or interaction with other passengers, as ebooks, music players and other devices will be allowed during takeoff and landings.
The report, commissioned by the FAA, will recommend testing transmission tolerance on older aircraft. Newer aircraft types are to be considered safe for electronic transmissions.
Industry officials believe the suggestions could get the green light as early as the end of this year.
According to the Wall Street Journal, which has talked to industry officials, aircraft types which can tolerate electronic transmissions are already in use, including craft fitted out with picocells for in flight phone calls. “If an aircraft already has a picocell, it’s already been evaluated to have electronic devices” for all phases of flight, one official told the WSJ.
The Airbus 330 300s and Boeing 747 400s are examples of such vehicles.
But the report will not recommend using mobile or wi-fi connections below 10,000 feet. Although it’s expected tablets and e-readers will be allowed for use during takeoffs and landings, larger laptops should be stowed away.
Amazon has one employee on the committee. In a statement, the company said the report is a “big win for customers”.
NB- It’s just been announced Delta Airlines pilots will be given Windows Surface 2 tablets for their electronic flight bags, whether they want them or not. Pilots for Boeing 757 and 767 fleet will get the kit, with more to come in 2014.