One of the more annoying parts of flying, outside of the ridiculous TSA security process and the notoriously packed flights, is the whole "turn your phones off" thing before taking off. While the skeptics would argue that it's just a myth that a phone could wreck a plane's GPS system, the FAA takes the "better safe than sorry route." But now, Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski is seemingly ready to take a second look at just how practical these silly rules are. Forcing people to turn everything off between the ground and 10,000 feet (on both ends of a flight) is pretty annoying, especially to businesspeople who are trying to make an office out of the sky and utilize that Gogo connection for all that it's worth.
The FCC head is now coming out to say that devices like smartphones and tablets, even in the sky, can "empower people" and lead to economic benefits. His letter, in part, reads: "I write to urge the FAA to enable greater use of tablets, e-readers and other portable electronic devices during flight, consistent with public safety. The review comes at time of tremendous innovation as mobile devices are increasingly interwoven in our daily lives. 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 US competitiveness."
It's unclear if this will be the moment that spurs the ban on devices to be lifted, but it's about as good a chance as any. We'd surely appreciate it, and we're guessing that most business flyers would as well.