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FAA Warms to Gate-to-Gate Gadgets

Ban likely to remain on cell phone calls
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2013 5:04 AM CDT
FAA Poised to Allow Gadgets During Takeoff
In this Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 file photo, US Airways and American Airlines planes are shown at gates at DFW International Airport in Grapevine, Texas.   (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

(Newser) – For the first time since the 1960s, the FAA's rules on electronic devices could change in a big way. An FAA advisory panel says it's time to start allowing certain gadgets to be used during taxiing, takeoff, and landing, the Wall Street Journal reports. Rules developed decades ago have "become untenable" thanks to the surge in consumer electronic usage, says a draft report by the panel. A note of caution, however: Cell phone calls aren't likely to be allowed.

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Part of the problem with the ban is that many passengers are already violating it—often unintentionally. A third of passengers say they've accidentally left devices on during flights. What's more, aircraft are "much more tolerant" of electronic device usage than they used to be. If the vehicles pass tough tests, passengers may be able to use gadgets "gate to gate." Right now, airlines follow the FAA-recommended ban, and the agency wants to take broad action quickly rather than see individual airlines develop their own rules. A final FAA decision probably won't come before September. (Read more mobile phones stories.)

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