More good news for commercial air travelers!

Hot on the heels of the FAA’s decision to allow on-board use of many (but not all) electronic devices from taxiing through take-off and on to landing, the final step in a different gadgets-on-airplanes proceeding, this one at the FCC, has now become effective.

Late last year the FCC decided to facilitate Internet access on airplanes with the establishment of a new “Earth Stations Aboard Aircraft” (ESAA) service. While the lion’s share of the new ESAA rules kicked in last April, a couple still needed to be run through the Paperwork Reduction Act drill at the Office of Management and Budget. According to a notice in the Federal Register, OMB has signed off on those final loose ends (specifically, revised Sections 25.132(b)(3) and 25.227(b), (c), and (d)). Accordingly, they are now in effect.

Yet another FCC proceeding on data service to airplanes, this one using terrestrial towers, is still pending.

Both FCC matters are separate and distinct from the FAA’s recent action, but all of these signal an increasing governmental openness to the use of electronic devices on commercial flights. 

Happy skies!