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.

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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.

Top Rated Comments

TRS-80 Avatar
104 months ago
Heaven forbid people put away their digital pacifiers for a moment.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
yg17 Avatar
104 months ago
I don't fly much, but weren't you always allowed to use these devices with the exception of during takeoff and landing?
Only above 10,000 feet.


Also, how are they going to enforce that the devices are in Airplane Mode?
They're not really going to be able to. Thankfully, contrary to popular belief, a cell phone not in airplane mode does not take down a jet. Otherwise, Al Qaeda would've figured that one out and just sent terrorists on planes with phones powered up and transmitting during takeoff.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
giantfan1224 Avatar
104 months ago
How is this really any different from any other time I have flown?

The difference is now I can read on my iPad throughout the flight instead of having to turn it off and stow it prior to takeoff and reaching 10,000 ft and while landing. I've been waiting for this...

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Heaven forbid people put away their digital pacifiers for a moment.

But the point is, why should they have to? The rule was archaic and unnecessary.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
levitynyc Avatar
104 months ago
I don't fly much, but weren't you always allowed to use these devices with the exception of during takeoff and landing?

Also, how are they going to enforce that the devices are in Airplane Mode?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JAT Avatar
104 months ago
It really is pathetic that people can't go without there devices, it's more about people paying attention to safety briefings they sit there ignoring the info given to them believing they know everything already, but then proceed to have no idea even when the seat belt signs are on!? Letting them use there phones even more beggars belief:(
See, what's completely dense about these comments is that during a flight (when you are trapped and cramped) is the BEST time ever created for using an electronic device to read or play music or whatever. Many people have bought portable DVD players, Kindles, etc for the explicit purpose of giving them something to do during this complete "down-time" on a plane.

Now, you want to make this comment about a specific time in everyone's life to NOT use devices? How about when driving. I'll support that completely.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bare Avatar
104 months ago
Should I admit that I've been doing this already? This myth was busted years ago, though I'm glad I won't have to hide my earbuds in my shirt anymore.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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