Full access to Entrepreneur for $5

Panel to FAA: Electronic Devices OK During All Stages of Flight

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Business travelers are one step closer to using their electronic devices on all stages of their flights, including takeoff and landing.

Talk Android

A federal advisory committee is poised to advise the Federal Aviation Administration that many planes can handle passengers using their electronics even when the aircraft is below an altitude of 10,000 feet, according to The Wall Street Journal. The panel does not recommend the use of cellular or Wi-Fi connections below 10,000 feet, meaning fliers would only be able to access content already saved on their devices.

While the FAA created the federal advisory committee, it’s up to the agency whether or not it will follow its recommendations. According to The Journal Gazette, however, several members of the FAA sit on the panel so it’s likely that the ban on electronic use during takeoffs and landings will eventually be lifted. 

Related: 7 Essential Tools for Working on the Road

While it’s unclear exactly when this will happen, The Wall Street Journal reported that “one industry official was optimistic approval could come by year-end for those aircraft types that require little if any further testing.”

But while you may soon be able to use your smartphone, iPod, tablet, e-reader and all your other gadgets throughout the flight, downloading data, using Wi-Fi and talking on the phone will remain prohibited.

"It's a step forward," Charlie Leocha, head of the Consumer Travel Alliance, told the Journal. The committee, he continued "probably could've looked at" allowing Internet connections below 10,000 feet but committee members told him that "there are so many things changing and technology shifting that this was the best they could do right now."

Related: In-Flight Wi-Fi Valued Over Comfort, Bathrooms? (Infographic)


Laura Entis

Written By

Laura Entis is a reporter for Fortune.com's Venture section.