For those of you who are frequent fliers and like to keep listening to music, reading ebooks and catching up on email on electronic devices without a completely unnecessary 25-minute delay, today is your lucky day.
The Federal Aviaton Administration has finally announced that airlines will soon be allowed to let customers use portable electronic devices during “all phases of flight.” While different airlines are expected to have different rules, the FAA said they expect most airlines will show that use of electronic devices “gate-to-gate” is safe by year’s end:
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.
This is welcome and way overdue news. It’s been apparent for many years now that there’s no safety or technological reason to disallow mobile electronic devices on planes. Thanks to former FCC chairman Julius Genachowski and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) for leading on this issue.
Now can we do something about those security checkpoints, please? And in-flight Wi-fi that doesn’t work?