"The FAA recognizes consumers are intensely interested in the use of personal electronics aboard aircraft," the FAA said in a statement. "That is why we tasked a government-industry group to examine the safety issues and the feasibility of changing the current restrictions. The group is meeting again this week and is expected to complete a report to the FAA by the end of the month. We will wait for the group to finish its work before we determine next steps."
The FAA has historically argued that allowing passengers to use electronic devices during takeoffs and landings could impact the mechanical operations of airplanes. Critics of the policy have argued that electronic technology has advanced enough to ease safety worries, and they point to the FAA's previous decision in 2011 to allow pilots to use iPads to record flight data to argue that electronics do not interfere with airplanes' mechanical equipment.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) has promised to introduce legislation to force the FAA to allow airline passengers to keep their electronics on if the agency does not decide to relent on its prohibition on its own.
McCaskill has long been vocal about her opposition to the FAA's current policy on electronics.
Even if the FAA relents on its rules about electronic use however, the agency is still not considering allowing airline passengers to use their cellphones during flights.