The days of having to stow your Kindle, cell phone or iPod at the very beginning and end of a flight will soon be coming to an end. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that “airlines can safely expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight.”
The decision comes after the FAA consulted with a panel of pilots, aviation manufacturers, airline representatives and other experts, who determined that devices being used in airplane mode should not interfere with the safe operation of most commercial aircraft.
This doesn’t mean you can whip out your laptop during takeoff on a flight this weekend. The new policy will be implemented on an airline-by-airline basis, with each carrier having to assess its own fleet and present evidence to the FAA that its planes won’t be affected by radio interference from PEDs. The FAA expects that many airlines will be approved for PED use by the end of the year.
A few things to note:
- You still won’t be able to use your cell phone for voice calls, and other devices must be kept in airplane mode.
- You may only use Wi-Fi on your device if the plane has installed a Wi-Fi system and the airline allows it to be used.
- Heavier devices should still be stowed during takeoff and landing.
- Finally, says the FAA, “In some instances of low visibility — about one percent of flights — some landing systems may not be proved PED tolerant, so you may be asked to turn off your device.”
Personally, we think it’s about time — what’s your take?
– written by Sarah Schlichter