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FAA to take 'fresh look' at gadget restrictions on flights

Sharif Sakr
03.19.12
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The only thing worse than the Terrible 10,000 Feet is the underlying sense that it's all so unnecessary. Why should using an iPad, Kindle or bag-holding alarm clock be banned during take-off and landing, even with all wireless comms switched off? Nick Bilton from the New York Times has been hounding the Federal Aviation Administration over this issue for a while, but he's suddenly received a reply other than "Just turn it off, sir." A senior official told him that the agency as decided to take a "fresh look" at the rules, not for cell phones, but for the myriad of other gadgets that can make a flight so much more peaceful and productive. Currently, airlines complain that they have to test each model of device individually, on every single plane in the fleet, and with a separate empty flight used for each test, before they're allowed to relax the rules for that model. That's why personal electronic devices remain so closely restricted, but also why there's so much room for a smarter solution -- even if there are still reams of red-tape to overcome before anything changes.

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