Passengers can soon use electronic devices on flights during takeoff, landing

ipad technology
You will no longer have to turn off your electronic devices during takeoff and landing.
Credit: Getty Images

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said on Thursday it will allow airlines to expand the use of portable electronic devices in flight to include smartphones, tablets and e-readers, ending a long-standing ban.

“Most commercial airlines can tolerate radio interference from portable electronic devices,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said at a news conference at Reagan National Airport near Washington, D.C. ”It’s safe to read downloaded materials, like e-books, calendars and to play games.”

These activities are expected to be permitted during all phases of flight, including takeoff and landing, on the vast majority of U.S. flights, he said.

Inflight cellphone talking is not approved, Huerta said, noting that this continues to be governed by the Federal Communications Commission.

However, passengers will be able to connect with an airline’s WiFi network and can use Bluetooth accessories, such as wireless mice and headphones.

As a practical matter, cellphones should be kept in airline mode during flight, he said. Without this setting, cellphones would continue to search vainly for a signal while aloft, draining batteries.

Huerta said the guidance applies to U.S. airlines throughout their domestic and international routes. The next step is for airlines to submit plans for implementation after testing to make sure their aircraft can tolerate this kind of radio interference.

Huerta said he sought updated guidance on the matter, since the current policy was put in place about 50 years ago.

In some cases of extremely low visibility, for perhaps 1 percent of all U.S. flights, some landing systems may not be able to tolerate radio interference, and in those cases passengers should follow the advice of flight crews, he said.

Within an hour of Huerta’s announcement, Delta Air Lines said its customers would be allowed to take advantage of the new policy as soon as Friday, pending FAA approval of its plan.

All Delta aircraft have been tested to make sure they can tolerate passenger operation of personal electronic devices, Delta said in a statement.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which contributed to the FAA panel that made the recommendation, applauded the decision as it pushed for “uniform technical, operational and training standards that will allow for the safe, managed expansion of PED usage by passengers.”

The U.S. Travel Association, an industry group, praised the move as a “common-sense, win-win” policy.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

National

Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…

National

Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…

International

Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…