Regulator to review in-flight mobile access
"Please switch off all electronic devices" might not exist as a mile-high restriction for much longer.
In a statement released Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission has asked the Federal Aviation Administration to let airline passengers use their mobile and digital devices in-flight.
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"Modern technologies can deliver mobile services in the air safely and reliably, and the time is right to review our outdated and restrictive rules," said commission Chairman Tom Wheeler in a statement about the proposal submitted to the FAA.
U.S. passengers are prohibited from using devices until the aircraft is above 10,000 feet. Delta Air Lines and JetBlue are two of the airlines that filed plans with the FAA earlier this year to allow use of approved electronic devices below that altitude.
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In early October, the Consumer Electronics Association announced support for an FAA committee recommendation that passengers generally be allowed to use lightweight electronic devices at all altitudes of flight on airplanes hardened against radio interference.
Safety still remains the FAA's concern.
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"I commend the dedication and excellent work of all the experts who spent the past year working together to give us a solid report so we can now move forward with a safety-based decision on when passengers can use [personal electronic devices] on airplanes," FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a statement last month.
For now, passengers are allowed to use lightweight electronic devices but may not make phone calls.
—By CNBC's Izzy Best