Home / National News / Shutdown Puts Brakes on Using Gadgets During Takeoff, Landing


(WASHINGTON) — Just when you thought it might be safe to leave your tablets, e-readers, smartphones and other consumer electronics devices turned on during takeoff and landing, along comes the government shutdown.

On Monday, after months of deliberation, an FAA advisory committee made up of representatives from the Federal Communications Commission; pilot and flight attendant groups; airlines; and passenger associations, delivered its recommendations to the FAA on the use of consumer electronics during takeoff and landing. Multiple outlets say the report recommends that the restrictions be loosened and that devices be allowed to stay on throughout the whole flight.

But for the moment the FAA doesn’t have the manpower to look at the report.

“The FAA has received the report and its guidance related to the possibility of expanded use of personal electronic devices on aircraft,” the FAA said in a statement provided to ABC News.

“However, the FAA staff that would advise the Administrator on this report, as well as work on the potential execution or implementation of the guidance, are furloughed, with remaining staff, including the Administrator, focusing their time during the shutdown on issues related to life and safety. We will post the report and issue guidelines when the lapse in funding is resolved,” the FAA said.

As part of the shutdown, nearly 15,000 FAA employees — one third of the agency’s workforce — have been furloughed.

Currently, using electronic devices such as tablets, music players and smartphones is prohibited until a plane has reached 10,000 feet.

While the report will not be released until the government is back up and running, The Wall Street Journal reports that the advisory committee has not only recommended that gadget uses be allowed during takeoff and landing but that Wi-Fi too is safe to use throughout the flight. If that’s the case, the report will go further than many had thought when it comes to lifting some in-flight restrictions.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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