The government will allow mobile devices to stay in the “on” position during an airplane’s takeoff and landing, though still not to make phone calls, starting as early as next year.

A Federal Aviation Administration advisory committee has submitted a report that recommends permitting use of mobile devices when a plane is below 10,000 feet (above that level is already OK). Phone calls are still banned after the doors are closed. The FAA soon will rule on whether to implement the guidelines made by the 28-member Aviation Rulemaking Committee, according to the Wall Street Journal. On the panel: Paul Misener, VP of global public policy for Amazon, whose Kindle Fire HD is in the hands of many a business and leisure traveler.

According to the committee’s suggestions:

  • Entertainment like videos, games, music, e-books and apps will already have to be on the device, since data can’t be transferred during the takeoff and landing process.
  • Smartphones and tablets will still need to be in “airplane mode,” meaning emails and text messages will have to wait after the doors are closed until a Wi-Fi connection is made.
  • Wi-Fi on flights should be accessible below 10,000 feet using the airline’s service, and larger items like laptops will still need to be stored during takeoff and landing.

1966: Year the FAA first regulated the use of portable electronic devices, after discovering that FM radios caused interference with communication systems.

1991: Year the FAA banned use of cellphones during flights, finding they send out signals strong enough to be received at great distances, affecting onboard systems.