. The announcement was made by FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, stating that the agency has determined that airlines can safely expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight and is immediately providing airlines with implementation guidance.
“We believe today’s decision honors both our commitment to safety and consumer’s increasing desire to use their electronic devices during all phases of their flights,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These guidelines reflect input from passengers, pilots, manufacturers, and flight attendants, and I look forward to seeing airlines implement these much anticipated guidelines in the near future.”
E-book readers, tablets, mobile phones, media players will soon not be required to be turned off during all phases of flight. However, e-book readers and tablets might be required to be placed in the seat back pocket during the actual takeoff and landing. Laptops will also still be required to be stowed due to its bulky nature and possible cause for injuries in case of an emergency situation.
Mobile phones are required to be switched to airplane mode or with cellular service disabled as the FCC prohibits airborne calls using cell phones and you’ll only run the risk of draining your batteries when you land.
Due to differences among fleets and operations, the FAA will require airlines to prove that their planes will allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate; but the agency expects many carriers to comply by the end of the year.
The FAA has issued some reminders in relation to the new directive:
1. Make safety your first priority.
2. Changes to PED policies will not happen immediately and will vary by airline. Check with your airline to see if and when you can use your PED.
3. Current PED policies remain in effect until an airline completes a safety assessment, gets FAA approval, and changes its PED policy.
4. Cell phones may not be used for voice communications.
5. Devices must be used in airplane mode or with the cellular connection disabled. You may use the WiFi connection on your device if the plane has an installed WiFi system and the airline allows its use. You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.
6. Properly stow heavier devices under seats or in the overhead bins during takeoff and landing. These items could impede evacuation of an aircraft or may injure you or someone else in the event of turbulence or an accident.
7. During the safety briefing, put down electronic devices, books and newspapers and listen to the crewmember’s instructions.
8. It only takes a few minutes to secure items according to the crew’s instructions during takeoff and landing.
9. 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.
10. Always follow crew instructions and immediately turn off your device if asked.