today in travel

Realizing It’s 2013, the FAA Is About to Approve New Electronic Device Rules

You can craft your own Alec Baldwin joke.
Xanax and Revenge please. (Photo: Flickr)

Xanax and a Diet Coke please. (Photo: Flickr)

Typically resistant to change, the Federal Aviation Administration is about to make a significant one. The New York Times reveals that the agency will finally loosen restrictions on the use of electronic gadgets during the flight. The caveat is you still wouldn’t be able to send and receive calls or connect to WiFi, unless it’s provided by the airline.

An advisory panel is set to meet this week to finalize the details, but the revamped regulations are expected to go into effect as soon as next year. If it’s approved, you can keep listening to music, reading your Kindle or binge-watching Gossip Girl on your iPhone.

The current rules that airlines operate have been in place since 1966, if you needed a reason why the Times called this a “cultural milestone.” One reason why the FAA has been reluctant to change the rules is that pilots have occasionally reported that electronic devices as interfering with cockpit instruments, but that connection has never been established conclusively. And since 30 percent of passengers say they forget to turn off their devices, so it’s not like it makes a difference.

Now that that’s resolved, can the FAA make Xanax freely dispensable?

Follow Jordan Valinsky on Twitter or via RSS. jvalinsky@observer.com