The 28-member FAA advisory committee voted to recommend the change during a closed-door meeting Thursday, said industry officials familiar with the deliberations. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the government asked them not to talk publicly about their deliberations.
The recommendations will be sent to the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday. Even if they are implemented, you will not be able to make phone calls or surf the web. Rather, the relaxed restrictions would allow you to use your device in AirPlane mode. ie. listen to offline music, watch locally stored video, play most games, read downloaded books, emails, and messages, etc.
"These devices are not dangerous. Your Kindle isn't dangerous. Your iPad that is on airplane mode is perfectly safe," said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. Airlines and technology companies such as Amazon have been trying to convince the FAA to relax restrictions for years. Senator McCaskill is now warning FAA officials that if they don't "act swiftly" to implement the recommendations, she will introduce legislation to force them to do so.
Airlines have already received approval from the FAA to use the iPad in the cockpit and as in-flight entertainment devices. Last year, American Airlines received approval to use the iPad in all phases of flight, replacing much of the pilot's flight bag. Hawaiian Airlines has announced that it will deploy 1,500 iPad minis for inflight entertainment on its Boeing 767-300 aircraft beginning September 1st.