Gadgets in flight

Don't expect to make phone calls, though, even if e-readers and tablets approved for takeoff and landing

You might no longer have to worry whether you shut off that gadget as your plane takes to the sky. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Federal Aviation Administration -- in part to get with the times and in part because so many passengers don't actually shut down everything with an on/off switch -- will relax the blanket ban on some personal electronic devices below 10,000 feet.

The policy shift, which hasn't been officially announced yet, isn't expected to address phone usage, so it's unsure yet whether airplane mode would suffice, or whether you'll have to tuck away anything that doesn't look like a small tablet. And that could get interesting given that half of all new Android smartphones essentially are small tablets. It's also not yet known whether you'd have Wifi access during takeoff and landing.

A formal decision isn't expected until the fall.

Source: WSJ (paywall); photo courtesy Jason Rabinowitz