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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

FAA to allow gizmos (some of them, anyway) in flight



Maybe Alec Baldwin laughs last today, as the federal government has decided to do away with regulations keeping airline passengers from reading, working, playing games, watching movies or listening to music on their electronic devices during takeoff and landing.

The Associated Press reports: "Currently, passengers are required to turn off their smartphones, tablets and other devices once a plane's door closes. They're not supposed to restart them until the planes reach 10,000 feet and the captain gives the go-ahead. Passengers are supposed to turn their devices off again as the plane descends to land and not restart them until the plane is on the ground.

"Under the new guidelines, airlines whose planes are properly protected from electronic interference may allow passengers to use the devices during takeoffs, landings and taxiing, the FAA said. Most new airliners and other planes that have been modified so that passengers can use Wifi at higher altitudes are expected to meet the criteria."

Connecting to the Internet or making phone calls will still be restricted, however — and come to think of it, since Words With Friends requires an Internet connection Baldwin will still be out of luck.

And if you're catching a flight tomorrow, don't expect to be able to sit on the plane watching the latest episode of The Good Wife on your tablet when the doors close, whether you're using a data connection or not. How fast the change is implemented will vary from airline to airline.

[Last modified: Thursday, October 31, 2013 2:24pm]


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