Panel backs easing electronic device use on planes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Industry officials say an advisory committee is urging the Federal Aviation Administration to relax its restrictions on airline passenger use of smartphones and other personal electronic devices during takeoffs and landings.

Officials said the committee agreed on the recommendations during a meeting Thursday. The officials asked not to be identified because the FAA has urged committee members not to discuss the recommendations.

Passengers are currently required to turn off phones, music players, e-readers, etc. while planes are below 10,000 feet to prevent interference with sensitive cockpit equipment. Takeoffs and landings are the most critical portions of flight. But new planes are equipped to prevent electronic interference.

Under the recommendations, passengers would now be able to use most devices, although some would have to be switched to airplane mode.

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