FAA: Airline Passengers May Use Most Electronic Devices in Flight
Cell phone use will continue to be banned in flight for calls, but users will be permitted to keep them running in airplane mode.Airline passengers on U.S. flights will soon be allowed to use most personal electronic devices (PEDs) during any phase of a flight, from taxiing to takeoff, climbing and landing, under expanded new rules announced Oct. 31 by the FAA. What that means, according to the agency, is that e-readers, gaming devices, video players and similar devices will no longer have to be shut down for takeoffs and landings. Cell phones, meanwhile, will no longer have to be completely shut off, as requested by many airlines, but will instead be permitted to remain in airplane mode during flights. The new rules will have no effect on existing bans on the use of cell phones for actual calls during all flights. "The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta today announced that the FAA has determined that airlines can safely expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight, and is immediately providing the airlines with implementation guidance," the agency reported in a statement. "Due to differences among fleets and operations, the implementation will vary among airlines, but the agency expects many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year." The relaxation of the flight rules come after the FAA has been looking into the PED issue for more than a year so it could garner opinions from experts, including airline representatives, aviation manufacturers, passengers, pilots, flight attendants and the mobile technology industry, according to the agency.
"Passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions," the statement said. "Electronic items, books and magazines, must be held or put in the seat back pocket during the actual takeoff and landing roll. Cell phones should be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled—i.e., no signal bars displayed—and cannot be used for voice communications based on FCC regulations that prohibit any airborne calls using cell phones."