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(WASHINGTON) — It’s the dreaded moment on many a traveler’s journey: The flight attendant announces that everyone on board must turn off their electronic devices. Some say they find the order annoying because they don’t believe there’s any reason to do so.

“There’s absolutely no evidence that any electronics aboard airlines interfere or have interfered in any way,” said John Nance, aviation consultant and retired commercial airline pilot, in an email to ABC News.  “All the claimed incidents – and I do mean all – have been unsubstantiated anecdotal stories.”

Over the weekend the FAA said in a statement it would take a “fresh look” at the policy after an article  in The New York Times claimed as much. Monday, however, in a new statement, the FAA has toned down its language on the matter, saying it is exploring ways to bring together all stakeholders:

“As with any regulation, safety is always our top priority, and no changes will be made until we are certain they will not impact safety and security.  For some time, the FAA’s rules have permitted an airline to allow passenger use of PEDs if the airline demonstrates the devices will not interfere with aircraft avionics.  The FAA is exploring ways to bring together all of the key stakeholders involved, but, ultimately, testing is the responsibility of each airline.  We recognize that this is an area of consumer interest, and our goal is to bring together these key stakeholders to help facilitate a discussion as we have in the past.”

Nance said it’s the responsibility of the FAA — not the airlines or FCC — to make scientifically-sound decisions on this matter.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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