FAA panel: Wi-Fi is safe on planes even during takeoff and landing

http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/airplane-wifi.jpg

A Federal Aviation Administration advisory committee "has concluded passengers can safely use hand-held electronic devices, including those connected to onboard Wi-Fi systems, during all portions of flights on nearly all US airliners," the Wall Street Journal reported last night.

The committee's report and recommendations haven't been released yet, but a senior Amazon.com official who leads the advisory group's technical subcommittee revealed the contents to the newspaper. "Nearly all airline fleets 'already have been so dramatically improved and aircraft are so resilient' to electronic interference, according to Paul Misener, Amazon's vice president of global public policy, that the committee concluded they would be safe for 'gate to gate use' of such devices," the WSJ wrote.

We noted last week that the FAA was nearing a decision to remove the requirement that electronic devices be turned off and put away during takeoff and landing, with the change becoming official next year. At the time, though, the New York Times reported, "The ban on sending and receiving e-mails and text messages or using Wi-Fi during takeoff or landing is expected to remain in place, as is the prohibition on making phone calls throughout the flight."