FAA Officially Allows Airlines to Expand Use of Personal Electronics on Commercial Flights
In line with an advisory committee recommendation from last month, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced that it is relaxing restrictions on the use of portable electronic devices during nearly all phases of flight.
Under the new regulations, by the end of the year many passengers will be able to use their personal devices, including iPhones and iPads in Airplane Mode, throughout their flights with the exception of the actual takeoff and landing, although specific implementation will be left up to the individual airlines.
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. 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. If your air carrier provides Wi-Fi service during flight, you may use those services. You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.
Airlines may also limit device use at other times depending on circumstances, such as earlier in the landing process during periods of low visibility where pilot reliance on electronic guidance systems is critical.
Airlines will have to certify that their aircraft can tolerate any radio interference from the personal electronics devices, and the FAA will provide clear guidelines on various risks of allowing personal electronic devices, as well as on the various areas where updates will need to be made, including signage, audio announcements, flight crew checklists, and more.