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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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June 21st, 2013
06:43 PM ET

Power up! FAA to ease gadget rules on planes

Instructions from flight attendants to power off electronic devices may be a thing of the past if the Federal Aviation Administration approves a draft of new recommendations allowing fliers to use some of their gadgets during taxi, takeoff, and landing, though cell phones are not included.

Last year the FAA began to look at loosening those restrictions. On Friday, the Wall Street Journal published leaks from the alleged unfinished report.

Frequent fliers have long ignored the airlines' requests to power down.

Alec Baldwin was famously booted from an American Airlines flight for using his mobile device, ignoring the flight attendants and continuing to play "Words With Friends" on his phone.

Later that week he spoofed the pilot on "Saturday Night Live", declaring, "Would you really get on airplane that flew 30,000 feet in the air if you thought one Kindle switch would take it down? Come on!"

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey just couldn't keep his fingers off the keys, recently shooting a Vine video while his plane took flight.

He's not alone. A survey by the airlines showed 30% of fliers don't listen to the request to turn off "Portable Electronic Devices" or PEDs.

"The long and short of it is, we're going to be able to use our PEDs in the not-too-distant future," said Mary Kirby, of The Airline Passenger Experience Association.

"There's been guidance that's been out there for years, the airlines have just been essentially waiting for the FAA to make their position clear. The FAA is about to do that, and then the airlines will have guidance. However the reality is this is going to take some time because these aircrafts are going to have to be tested to make sure they are PED tolerant," said Kirby.

A 2010 report found 75 instances of PED interference with airplanes. Which amounted to just 1 incident in every 280,000 flights.

The FAA acknowledged Friday changes may be afoot.

"We tasked a government-industry group to examine the safety issues and the feasibility of changing the current restrictions," the administration said in a statement. "We will wait for the group to finish its work before we determine next steps."

The deadline for that report has been pushed back twice. The FAA said it will wait to issue formal guidance until after it receives the recommendations.

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