The Federal Aviation Administration will soon allow the use of electronic devices during takeoff and landing. However, this change still prohibits phone calls from being made.

FAA

The current rule requires airplane passengers to shut off portable electronic devices including tablets, phones, ebook readers, and laptops during takeoffs and landings. The reason for this rule is to prevent electronics from interfering with flight equipment.

FAA rule change depends on ‘airplane mode’ proven safe

The FAA explained in the following statement, “The agency expects many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year.”

There is no word on whether the change will take place in time for the holiday travel period.

Luke Punzenberger (representative for United Airlines) added, “We already started work to implement this as safely and quickly as possible, and are excited to offer this new benefit because our customers tell us they want to use their portable electronic devices.”

Recent surveys show that passengers don’t generally turn off their devices (sometimes unintentionally). Moreover, pilots are starting to bring their iPads into the cockpit. This allows them to carry their navigation manuals and charts electronically instead of bring bulky books on the plane.

Change will benefit passengers and companies both

This change will benefit passengers as well as companies like Amazon, the maker of Kindle e-reader devices. Another company that would benefit is Gogo, which offers in-flight Wi-Fi.

Traveling passengers will still benefit the most from this change as they can use their tablet computer or smartphone before and after the flight. Mobile media devices are everywhere and the times need to change to accommodate passenger needs.

The Chicago Tribune explained, “After the change is implemented, passengers will be able to read e-books, play games and watch videos on their devices ‘during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions,’ the FAA said. Wireless phones should be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled — no signal bars displayed — and cannot be used for voice calls. A different agency, the Federal Communications Commission, has since 1991 banned inflight use of cell phones because of potential interference with ground networks.”

This change will undoubtedly be welcomed by all.