It looks like airlines may soon begin lifting some of the device restrictions that are currently in place. Individual airlines have yet to come forward with any rule changes, however the FAA advisory committee is coming forward with a recommendation to ease those device restrictions. According to an AP report, the committee is expected to send their recommendation to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Monday.
This is not a something that will allow for the use of any and all devices, but more of an ease of those restrictions that are currently in place. Basically, those flying should soon be able to use more electronic devices during the climb to 10,000 feet. The key here, the devices will not be able to connect to the internet and for those that can -- they will need to make use of airplane mode.
The catch here, we are going to have to wait and see whether the FAA opts to back the suggestions the advisory committee is making. Again, this is expected to be sent over on Monday and even from that point, changes are not expected until early next year. The AP report suggests passengers could see restrictions lifted as soon as early 2014 assuming the agency opts for a "faster implementation track."
Otherwise, if the airlines have to apply carrier by carrier and need approval for each and every plane involved -- that timeline could extend out quite a bit. While this all sounds like a winning plan for those traveling, it is also something that seems like it should have come sooner. Regardless though, it looks like things are moving now and in fact, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. has said that if the FAA doesn't "act swiftly" she will introduce legislation for move the process along.
In the meantime, it looks like now is a good time to start getting familiar with airplane mode. Or at the very least, make sure you know where that setting is located on your smartphone or tablet.