Thank you, Nick Bilton
For years, the FAA cited old and incomplete data and a small stack of anecdotal pilot reports (themselves out of date) to justify the ban. Nick Bilton, of the New York Times's Bits blog, endeavoured to make the FAA put up or shut up. Through ongoing prodding, Mr Bilton has been urging the agency to admit that the ban is for show, or to perform a serious re-evaluation and get proper data.
He seems to have finally broken through the wall. Last week, he received a response from the FAA to his regular query as to where matters stand. The agency now says it is taking a "fresh look" at the situation. Previously, in order to be used continuously throughout a flight, the FAA makes airlines test every unique model of device in an empty plane on every discrete model of aircraft it flies, according a Virgin America spokesperson cited by Mr Bilton. Each airline must do the same. No wonder in-flight Wi-Fi has taken this long to take off.