After much anticipation, the Federal Aviation Administration has announced an easement to the strict ban on the use of mobile devices on airplanes and have issued new rules for passenger use. While passengers still won’t be able to make phone calls while boarding doors are closed and planes are away from the gate, they will soon be able to use PEDs (Portable Electronic Devices) from gate to gate, take-off to landing. Beginning immediately, airlines who have obtained approval from the FAA for their safety assessment plans will issue new policies for the use of mobile devices during their flights. Each airline must test each aircraft type for possible data interference and submit their findings for approval to the FAA, so passengers may find that not all airlines and not all aircraft types allow for use of mobile devices right away.
And with any new broad reaching policy, there are always lots of questions to be asked and answered. Here are answers to the most asked questions about the new FAA Portable Electronic Devices Rules:
What Airlines Currently Allow Use of PEDs (Mobile Devices)?
JetBlue Airways and Delta Airlines are the first to have their implementation plans approved by the FAA. In fact JetBlue flew the very first flight allowing use of mobile electronic devices just one day after the FAA’s ruling. As you might expect all airlines are scrambling to get their test results submitted to the FAA and more airlines will be joining JetBlue and Delta in the coming weeks.
What Mobile Devices Can Be Used on an Airplane and Are Considered Approved Personal Electronic Devices?
Size seems to be the most important factor in determining if a device can be used or not. According to Delta’s regulations for instance, a device must be able to be easily secured in a seat-back pocket without exceeding the 3 lb weight capacity which includes the safety card, magazine and air sickness bag. Devices may not impede emergency egress to the isle and must be able to be hand held or fit in the seat pocket during takeoff and landing.
Popular Personal Electronic Devices That CAN Be Used On an Airplane During Flight and Take Off :
AM/FM radio with headphones, DVD players that comply with size requirements, e-readers such as Kindle, Nook, etc, Tablet Computers that conform to size requirements, seat back in-flight entertainment systems, GPS receivers, handheld computer games, headphones, noise reduction headphones, portable media players, smartphones that operate in “Airplane Mode”, medical devices. Devices that emit noise are to be used with personal headphones. If noise is disturbing other passengers (for instance with a video game) the user will be asked to turn it off.
What Devices CANNOT Be Used On Airplanes During Flight and/or Take Off?:
Personal air purifiers, remote control toys, televisions, two-way radios or walkie-talkies, cell phones unless in airport mode, laptops, or other devices that exceed the 2lb weight restriction. Devices over 2 lbs (such as laptop computers) that can be used during flight, must be stowed during takeoff and landing.
Can I Use My Cellphone On An Airplane?
Passengers may NOT use their mobile phone unless it is operating in Airport Mode. Passengers using smartphones may use some features, but may not make phone calls or send text messages until specifically authorized by the flight crew after landing.
Will Passengers Be Able To Use WiFi With Their Mobile Devices?
Each airline and type of aircraft will have their own set of rules. In general, airplanes that have been equipped with WiFi systems will authorize use AFTER the aircraft has climbed to an altitude of 10,000 feet or above.
Can E-Cirgarettes Be Used on an Airplane?
In a word, NO.
Do The New PED Rules Apply To International Flights as well?
No, these rules apply to domestic flights within the 50 United States. International regulations vary by country and expanded PED use is not allowed. In additional the rules do not apply to the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. Johns, etc.
Do The New PED Rules Apply to All Aircraft?
No. Implementation of the new rules will depend on the airline receiving FAA approval of their safety plans. Airlines will obtain approval of their most used, most modern, and largest aircraft first. It may be some time before PED can be used on regional jets and smaller, or older aircraft.
So take heart everyone who just can’t put down their e-novel, or who wants to listen to soothing music during take off and landing, your day has come! For more answers and clarifications visit your airline’s website.