FAA Says Some Electronics Can Now Be Used Throughout Your Flight

Flickr/Jetstar

If you’re tired of shutting off your gadgets during take off and landing (or you’re one of those passengers who surreptitiously leaves them on) then get ready for some good news. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that it is loosening restrictions on the use of electronics in-flight, meaning some devices can now be used the entire time you’re on the plane.

Under the changes, travelers will be able to use e-readers, play games, and watch videos on their portable devices throughout their journey. Bluetooth devices like wireless keyboards can also be used on flights. Cell phones will still face some restrictions, with passengers required to keep them in airplane mode. And as is currently the case, no phone calls will be allowed at any time onboard. The FAA says passengers may be asked to stow some heavier devices during takeoff and landing for safety reasons, but in general, the new rules reflect much more freedom for fliers.The FAA says it came to the decision after receiving input from pilots, electronics manufacturers, and passengers, and that the new rules balance safety with travelers’ increasing appetite to use electronics during flights.

The new rules won’t necessarily apply immediately, and exactly how they’ll be implemented will probably differ from one airline to the next. But the FAA believes most carriers will have the changes in place by the end of the year.

Device helps women on the go “go” in the woods or elsewhere

If you’re a woman traveler, you’ve probably been in a quandary at one time or another wondering how and where you might pee. Gazing about, it seems that no bush is big enough. Trees seem skinny. Where is the best angle to squat to be the most discrete in case someone unexpectedly rounds a corner?

If in a vehicle and nature calls, the nearest gas station or fast food place may seem like the only solution.

For a guy, it’s a different story. I mean, really–don’t guys just seem to go any old place?

Here’s a new solution for women that’s better than the portable toilet that Catherine wrote about two years ago–no offense to the portable toilet. It may be a swell idea for a car trip, but it’s not as if you’ll lug one along on a hike.

The GoGirl, however, looks practical. According to the description of how it works in Hilary Howard’s New York Times article , it could be fun. The contraption allows women to pee in “an arc-like penile stream” while standing up.

Sarah Dillon, the president and founder of GoGirl, is currently focusing on the women hikers and women traveling with young children market. Another market Dillon might consider tapping into big time is women who are traveling to countries where squat toilets are widely used. Squat toilets create another dilemma.

Squatting and peeing straight down takes practice. GoGirl might be a perfect solution to keeping shoes pee free. With its small size and affordable price of $6.99, GoGirl could be easily added to Annie’s Top 10 things not to forget on a trip. For women, make the list a Top 11 list for peace of mind.

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On Southwest, the internet’s no longer free

Starting tomorrow, Southwest Airlines is going to start charging for internet access on four of its planes. The fees will range from $2 to $12, based on how long you’re in the sky and how you connect. For the past few months, access has been free, but the lure of additional revenue must have been hard to resist.

Yep, another extra fee to add to the list …

Both Delta Airlines and American Airlines are planning to add internet access to more than 300 planes each, but they’re still in the early stages. The fee to connect can reach $12.95, though less on shorter flights or when you use a handheld device instead of a laptop. I tested out Delta’s offer on a flight from New York to Atlanta and had great results. If you’re looking to recapture a few hours of your professional life, the price is well worth it.

For once, there’s a fee well worth paying.

Travel with TalkMan for PSP

PSP TalkManHere’s a cool little bit from the folks at Cool Hunting looking out for all their soccer pals globally who ran off to the World Cup games with few language skills other than their mother tongue. According to their quick write-up Sony PSP has recently released portable translation software where you’re led through the learning process by a blue cartoon bird named Max. Along with the software comes a microphone so that you can throw out some English and get the translation back in return.

This is pretty neat if you already own a Sony PSP and maybe even a reason to go out and get one now. I did a promotion with the equipment just last year and found that the regular video games (not to mention the many other features) would come in handy on a long flight abroad. As far as the TalkMan software is concerned, you can nab them in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Japanese in stores now.