The Federal Administration is working with its advisory panel to determine whether to implement a change in regulations that would allow passengers to use personal electronics during takeoff, taxi and landing.
The panel has until September to finalize its recommendations.
“The FAA recognizes consumers are intensely interested in the use of personal electronics aboard aircraft. That is why we tasked a government-industry group to examine the safety issues and the feasibility of changing the current restrictions,” spokeswoman Laura Brown said.
Passengers are currently prohibited from using electronics during the start and end of flights, including computers, smartphones and e-readers, which has long earned eye-rolls from passengers.
The panel's recommendations do not include the use of cell phones, as they fall under a different set of rules regulated by the FCC.
The original ban was instituted out of concerns that the devices might interfere with airplane communications systems and navigation. Studies showed the devices showed little risk of interference at high altitudes and allowed their use above 10,000 feet.
Further research shows that the electromagnetic fields of modern devices are too weak to have an effect on airplane systems.