FAA Spending Year Reviewing Electronics Rules, Not Doing Anything About Them
Last March New York Times tech blogger Nick Bilton called up the FAA for a boilerplate story about the agency's silly takeoff/landing electronics rules, which currently force travelers to deactivate their Kindles, laptops, mp3 players, etc whenever a plane is below 10,000 feet. Instead of being told to go pound sandbecause the FAA is a government agency, so shut upBilton was told that the agency would take a "fresh look" at the requirements. Hooray for government!
This week the FAA finally got around to starting to maybe think about loosening the requirements. So that was half a year gone. Their announced plan is to form "a government-industry group," made up of "representatives from the mobile technology and aviation manufacturing industries, pilot and flight attendant groups, airlines, and passenger associations," to study the issue. The group will convene months from now and then meet for another six months. Boo for government!
As a special bonus, the consensus of experts appears to be that most restrictions are going to stay in place. The ban on in-flight cell phone usage will almost certainly stay, which is good because can you imagine dozens of people yelling into their cell phone at 5,000 feet? Murder.
But other bans, including ones on basic electronic use during takeoffs and landings, are also likely to survive. The government wants you to listen to flight attendants' safety instructions, and to do that they're going to ban you from using tablets. If you think that's kind of moronic - which it isLifehacker has instructions on how to send comments to the study group. Your comments will likely be ignored, but at least you'll have sent them.
It's kind of amazing that anyone ever gets anything done at any level of government, isn't it?
[Photo: Jetstar Airways / Flickr]