FAA to Review Its Policy on Gadget Use During Flight

Keep your fingers crossed: We may soon be able to use our e-readers, laptops, and iPods during takeoff and landing.

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Reuters

In the Hall of Pointless Hassles, the no-gadgets-during-takeoff-and-landing policy surely has a prime place. Even though there has never been an accident resulting from the use of electronic devices on planes, and even though plenty of people keep theirs on, stowed away in a bag out of sight, airlines have continued to enforce this stupid policy.

But now, at last, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. The New York Times's Nick Bilton, who has owned this beat, says that during his regular calls to the Federal Aviation Administration, he made the happy discovery that this rule is now under review. Rejoice! He writes:

So, likely bowing to public pressure, the F.A.A. has decided to take this initiative into its own hands and is going to figure out a way to start testing new electronics on airplanes.

As Ms. Brown said: "With the advent of new and evolving electronic technology, and because the airlines have not conducted the testing necessary to approve the use of new devices, the FAA is taking a fresh look at the use of personal electronic devices, other than cellphones, on aircraft."

Sure, it's just a nuisance, and, after all, you are sitting on a chair, in the sky, but the announcement is a welcome one. Our technologies are changing faster than our rules can keep up, and we all benefit as the two come into closer, more reasonable, alignment, even in the case of a small inconvenience like this one.

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Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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