FAA Announcement has Techy Travelers Happy

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - At the Eastern Iowa Airport, frequent flyer Jo Martell is also a frequent gadget user. In her tech arsenal she carries a tablet and two iPhones. She uses the devices for work, but current safety regulations mean Martell has to shut them down for 10 or more minutes during takeoff and landing.

"I'm a rule follower, as it is. So if they want them off, I'll turn them off," said Martell.

That rule looks to soon be relaxed for most airlines. After months of research, the Federal Aviation Administration announced, Thursday, carriers will be allowed to let passengers use many portable electronics during takeoff and landing. Things like cellphones, e-books, and tablets, as long as they're in airplane mode.

The FAA expects most air carriers will make the change by the end of the year, after proving their planes can handle it.

"I'm pretty pumped," said Martell. "I can be working from the get go. Great. More time for me to do work."

Family man Bret Gerald is all about the change, too. Not so much for himself, but his three-year-old daughter, who'll now have a digital distraction from the beginning to the end of each flight.

"Everything is on there. Her games, her videos," said Gerald. "I'm ecstatic. It's better for everyone. The person in front doesn't have to get their chair kicked. She's happy as a clam. It's great."

Then, there's Mike Harryman, who contrary to a lot of excitement from others, prefers things stay the way they are. Harryman said people need a break from their tech gear..

"We're kind of old school," said Harryman. "People ought to get away from all the electronics. It's going to be the ruination of the human race the way it keeps going."

The FAA said there will still be some instances, like poor weather, where people will have to store electronics. They'll also be asked to stow large devices, like standard size laptops.

If you have questions, check out the FAA's webpage: http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/ped/faq/
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