Last week 28-members of the FAA advisory committee voted to recommend a change in regulation that would allow airplane passengers to use Smartphones and other mobile devices when the aircraft is below 10,000 feet. This recommendation will be sent to the FAA today for a final decision. Downloading data, surfing the Web, and talking on the phone would still be prohibited; however, you will be able to access applications and videos that have already been downloaded or installed on your computer.
The FAA doesn’t have the authority to change the regulations regarding whether or not cell phone calls can be made on airplanes—that decision belongs to the FCC. “The Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the cellphone industry, has opposed allowing passengers on fast-moving planes to make calls, citing potential interference with cellular networks as phones in the sky skip from cell tower to cell tower faster than networks can keep up,” Joan Lowy of the Associated Press explains.
Now passengers are required to shut off all electronic devices during take-off and landing so that the devices do not interfere with the plane equipment. Lowy explains that, “newer aircraft are better equipped to prevent electronic interference, and critics long have complained that the safety concerns behind the regulations are groundless.”