FAA to Expand Use of Electronic Devices to Taxi, Takeoff, and Landing
The Federal Aviation Administration announced Thursday that it will allow airlines to expand passenger use of portable electronic devices such as tablet computers and smartphones during all phases of flight.
The change in rules was announced by FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
Currently, passengers must turn off and stow all electronic devices during taxi, takeoff, and landing.
The implementation of the rule change will vary by airline and airlines will have to prove to the FAA that their planes will allow passengers to safely use electronic devices in airplane mode during pushback, taxi, takeoff, and landing by the end of the year.
Passengers will have to either hold or safely stow the devices during the actual takeoff and landing. The use of airplane mode means that the mobile phone signal must be disabled (i.e. no signal bars displayed) and cannot be used for placing or receiving phone calls.
Passengers on board aircraft with in-flight Internet access will continue to be able to use these services once above 10,000 feet. Short-range Bluetooth accessories such as keyboards will also continue to be permitted.
The decision to make the change “honors our commitment to safety and consumer’s increasing desire to use their devices during all phases of flight,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who cited input from passengers, pilots, airplane manufacturers, and flight attendants throughout the decision-making process.
The change came after the PED Aviation Rulemaking Committee concluded that most commercial airplanes can safely tolerate radio interference signals from electronic devices in a recent report. The report included a few exceptions, including cases of low-visibility when the crew may instruct passengers to turn off their devices during landing. It also recommended that larger devices be stowed during takeoff and landing.
Each airline will create its own rules as to when and how passengers can use their devices.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)