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FAA expected to relax gadget rules on planes

Sep. 23, 2013 at 10:58 AM ET

Video: The flight regulation agency is expected to relax restrictions on some devices on planes as early as 2014, including tablets and previously downloaded podcasts and videos. However, the ban will remain in place for phone calls, emails, text messages and Wi-Fi.

A Federal Aviation Administration advisory panel is meeting this week and is expected to relax restrictions on in-flight device use as early as next year, the New York Times reported

Passengers will be allowed to use e-books, tablets and other publications — along with previously downloaded podcasts and movies — under the new guidelines expected to be released by the end of the month. 

All forms of communication will still be banned, including phone calls, email and passengers using their own Wi-Fi.

The agency's goal is to have a single policy that covers all airlines "from gate to gate." Rather than testing the devices, FAA will ask airlines to certify their planes can handle any potential interference.

Up to one-third of passengers in a recent survey said they've accidentally not turned off their devices during takeoff and landing

Previously the FCC has written to FAA urging the agency to rethink its electronic device policies, which, according to a DePaul University study, will cost passengers 105 million hours of disrupted technological activity this year.

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