Airlines look at relaxing portable device policy

Updated:

Delta Air Lines and other industry members are trying to persuade the FAA to change its policy on what portable electronic devices you can use in-flight.

ATLANTA - You could soon have more freedom when you fly.

Delta Air Lines and other industry members are trying to persuade the FAA to change its policy on what portable electronic devices you can use in-flight.

Delta surveyed nearly 1,500 of its customers about electronics on planes. Passengers want to read, text, listen to music and watch movies at all times on the plane.

"It would be wonderful if we could read when we get on," passenger Jane Thompson said.

The FAA bans the use of personal electronics and portable devices during takeoff and landing, when the plane is below 10,000 feet.

There's concern about potential interference with wireless networks on the ground and on the plane.

The agency is considering relaxing the rules and asked the public to comment online.

In a document obtained by Channel 2 Action News, Delta revealed that since 2010, over the course of 2.3 million flights, Delta reported 27 instances of possible interference from electronic devices, but never could confirm what exactly was to blame.

The Delta survey and most comments online said, "Yes, let us use our e-readers and iPads." But people didn't want to see others on their cellphones talking on the plane.

Flight attendants said they divert too much attention away from ensuring passenger safety to instead ask people to turn off their devices.

"If I'm out in the aisle trying to get you to turn off your cellphone and you just turn it upside down, I'm not in my jump seat where I'm supposed to be in case of an emergency on the ground," Southwest flight attendant Robin Lewis said.

A Delta official is at the head of the group that plans to make recommendations to the FAA about changing the rules for personal electronic devices.

That group is expected to meet next week.

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