Local travelers anticipate possible new FAA electronics rules

East Tennessee travelers anticipate possible new electronics rules when flying

Posted:
The final meetings are beginning Tuesday that could decide whether passengers should be allowed to use their electronic devices while a plane is taking off or landing. The final meetings are beginning Tuesday that could decide whether passengers should be allowed to use their electronic devices while a plane is taking off or landing.
"I hate it," said Tom Kelly. "My phone definitely, my iPad that I have with me today, you know those become lifelines." "I hate it," said Tom Kelly. "My phone definitely, my iPad that I have with me today, you know those become lifelines."
"Being able to send that last email or get in touch with somebody upon landing I think is an important thing," said frequent flier Mike Smith "Being able to send that last email or get in touch with somebody upon landing I think is an important thing," said frequent flier Mike Smith
If the panel does decide to loosen up those guidelines, you will still not be able to make calls on your cell phone. That rule, at least for now, will remain in place. If the panel does decide to loosen up those guidelines, you will still not be able to make calls on your cell phone. That rule, at least for now, will remain in place.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

ALCOA (WATE) - The final meetings are beginning Tuesday that could decide whether passengers should be allowed to use their electronic devices while a plane is taking off or landing. 

It's a rule we've become all too familiar with. Before the wheels go up, the electronics must go off. As people get more and more tethered to technology, it's getting harder and harder to disconnect.

The rules were put in place decades before an iPad or iPhone was even fathomable. The reason was a concern that devices could interfere with a plane's communications systems.

"There's been no evidence scientifically that our signals from these cells and cell towers interfere with their radio frequencies," said frequent flier Mike Smith. "They're on a completely different network to go to the tower."

That's why a panel was formed back in January to review just how necessary the process is, and if it's time the rules were loosened up. Many travelers at McGhee Tyson Airport are ready for a change.

"I hate it," said Tom Kelly. "My phone definitely, my iPad that I have with me today, you know those become lifelines."     

"Being able to send that last email or get in touch with somebody upon landing I think is an important thing," said Smith. "I think it's time and modern technology is winning."

New rules could also mean eliminating an often frustrating task for flight attendants when trying to come in between passengers and their gadgets, a situation that in recent years has led to some serious altercations.

"I think they're a little addicted to their electronics," said traveler Roger Roach. "Nothing is that important that you can't leave it off for a few minutes."

If the panel does decide to loosen up those guidelines, you will still not be able to make calls on your cell phone. That rule, at least for now, will remain in place.

The panel is scheduled to wrap up the meetings Wednesday and expects to deliver a report with its findings to the Federal Aviation Administration by the end of the month.

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