We could soon be allowed to use our gadgets during take-off and landing, according to a report that suggests the Federal Aviation Administration plans to relax the rules about using technology during plane journeys by the end of this year.
The New York Times cites an FAA official, and sources who work with an industry working group set up by the FAA last year with the purpose of studying the use of portable electronics on planes, in its report that suggests travellers will be able to use their iPads, laptops, Kindles and more for the entirety of their plane journey by the end of 2013.
At present, fliers are required to switch off their gadgets completely during take-off and landing, but the changes will mean that the devices will just need to be switched onto airplane mode.
The sources said that the FAA is "under tremendous pressure to let people use reading devices on planes, or to provide solid scientific evidence why they cannot."
While most devices are likely to be allowed for the whole journey as long as they're set to airplane mode, mobile phones will not be included in the changes, says NYT.
The findings of the study by the FAA's industry working group, which compromises a mixture of people from the likes of Amazon, the Consumer Electronics Association, Boeing, the Association of Flight Attendants, the Federal Communications Commission and more, are set to be presented by 31 July.
To ensure that the FAA makes changes to the rules about the use of technology during flights, Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, has told NYT during a phone interview that she plans to hold the agency accountable by introducing legislation.
McCaskill highlighted that pilots and flight attendants are now allowed, and also encouraged, to use iPads during take-off and landing, saying: "So it's ok to have iPads in the cockpit; its ok for flight attendants – and they are not in a panic – yet it's not ok for the travelling public… A flying copy of 'War and Peace' is more dangerous than a Kindle."
"The idea that in-flight use of electronic devices for things like reading a book poses a threat to the safety of airline passengers is baseless and out-dated," she added.
NYT points to the new wearable technology trend, which could soon include Google Glass and smartwatches including Apple's rumoured iWatch. It could prove difficult for flight attendants to ensure that all of these devices are powered down before take-off. Google's glasses have, however, already been banned from a café in Seattle, and lawmakers are seeking a ban on the gadget while driving.