Bad News for Skymall: FAA Will Stop Making You Turn Off Your Devices

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On Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration got rid of what many believe to be the worst flying rule in the book: you no longer have to turn off your iPads, iPhones, e-readers, or any other device you may own during takeoff, landing, or taxiing. People did not like the "turn of all electronic devices" rule because our fear of being lonely and dealing with our "forever empty"  humans have hard time just sitting there. 

All that stands in the way between you and playing Candy Crush during takeoff is paperwork and "tolerance tests"— some kind of proof that a plane full of people typing away on their electronic devices won't interfere with plane mechanics. "JetBlue Airways also expects to be among the first airlines to allow greater electronics use because it has a relatively small fleet -- less than 200 aircraft -- and only two types of planes," USA Today reported, noting that most airlines will be changing by the end of the year. 

So how silly was that the idea that your modest electronics like a Discman or Palm from back in the day was going to make your plane crash? Well, according to a 28-person committee which has members from airlines, manufacturers, flight attendants, and tech gurus, that ban was bunk. "The committee determined that most commercial airplanes can tolerate radio interference from portable electronic devices," FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said during his announcement on Thursday. In spite of the FAA loosening up on this gripe, there, fortunately, doesn't seem to be any intention in that the organization will be getting rid of its ban on voice calls. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.