Presently, the FAA requires all electronic devices to be turned off when airplanes are below 10,000 feet.
The agency has reportedly already received its recommendation on increasing electronic use on airplanes, but “aviation rulemaking” was included in a list of activities the Department of Transportation (DOT) said would have to be suspended if the federal government shut down.
Even if the shutdown had not prevented the FAA from making its announcement, cell phone users would not have as much of a reason to rejoice as tablet fans.
The FAA excluded cell phones from its consideration of relaxing its electronic rules, meaning airline passengers will still not be able to make calls until airplanes are on the ground.
Elsewhere, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on Wednesday about “autonomous vehicles.”
The hearing was scheduled after House Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) took a ride in a driverless car last month. Shuster proclaimed the technology “the future of transportation” after completing a 30-minute automated ride.
The transportation committee was also scheduled to hold hearings on Thursday about maritime transportation regulations and “funding the nation’s freight system.”
With the government shutdown, it remains to be seen of course if lawmakers proceed with the meetings.