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Hate having to turn off your electronic device after boarding a plane? Those days may soon be over, if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has anything to do with it.

Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the FCC has reached out to the Federal Aviation Administration, asking them to allow the use of more electronic devices during flights. According to The Hill, the FCC would like to see passengers be able to have “greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices” while on board.

The letter, which was addressed to the FAA’s acting administrator Michael Huerta, highlighted the ever-expanding reliance on portable devices. It claimed that they are essential for both work and pleasure. Genachowski wrote:

“They empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family, and they enable both large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient, helping drive economic growth and boost U.S. competitiveness.”

There is much dispute regarding whether devices like tablets or iPods actually interfere with an aircraft’s instruments during takeoff and landing. Some people believe that the rule actually exists simply to make sure passengers are paying attention to their surroundings–and not their phones–during the most hectic portions of the flight.

Earlier this year, the FAA approved the use of iPads instead of paper flight manuals for the flight crew, but that rule was not extended to passengers. Even if the rules are changed to expand the use of electronics throughout the flight, it is unlikely that voice and data services would be included.

Despite the obvious hilarity here–the government is asking the government to change the rules–this is good news for travelers. Many people get right to work on their devices the moment they take their seat. Not having to temporarily stow the devices would make air travel more enjoyable and convenient.


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